Youth Leadership


Working with youth and youth-serving nonprofits in the region, we support programs that give young people a voice in their communities and help them gain leadership experience.

The Community Foundation’s Youth Leadership project was established in 1991 with a $1 million challenge grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. These funds established an endowed youth fund that would, in perpetuity, involve young people in reviewing grant proposals from organizations that benefit youth in southeast Michigan.

For more than 20 years, our middle school- and high school-aged youth advisors have recommended 196 youth-serving grants totaling more than $1.3 million.

These grants have had a real impact on growing youth leaders at nonprofit organizations across the region.

The Youth Leadership project makes several grants each year that typically range in size from $2,500 to $20,000. The grants are made to local nonprofit organizations or school districts proposing a project that will either involve youth in the development of the program or will build opportunities for youth leaders.

“I am involved in YAC to help all of the youth that face issues inside Michigan. My favorite part about YAC is being able to fund an issue that is very close to me or something that I have experience with.

My most memorable experience with YAC was when we went on a site visit to Mosaic Youth Theatre. Actually seeing the impact of a grant has inspired me to work harder and do more.”

 Malcolm Massey

Recent examples of grants from Youth Leadership include:

Give Merit received $8,000 to give Detroit high school students on-site experience with college and various work environments through a mentored program with University of Michigan students.

The Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion received $7,000 for youth leadership programs to advance equity and opportunity in schools and communities.

The Washtenaw Area Council for Children received $12,000 for a cyber-safety and cyber-bullying prevention program.

Apply for a Youth Leadership Grant

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Apply to be on the
Youth Advisory Committee

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Youth Advisory Committee

If you are looking to make a difference in your community and other communities in need, participating on the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) might be a great fit. The YAC meets monthly and evaluates grant applications and makes recommendations to fund projects and programs that support youth organizations in southeast Michigan. The YAC is a unique opportunity to learn about philanthropy, grantmaking, volunteerism, and also a place to help you develop and strengthen your leadership skills.

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Questions? Feel free to contact


Surabhi Pandit
Senior Program Officer
313.961.6675, ext. 123

spandit@cfsem.org