Youth in Philanthropy program to start in January, open for application


Credit: Courtesy of Caroline Murphy

Pictured above is Wayland seniors Kayla Sherman and Gabi Ragazzi’s Youth in Philanthropy class from last spring. The Foundation for MetroWest is starting up its spring YIP class in Sudbury this coming January. “We’d love to keep Wayland students involved,” program officer Caroline Murphy said.

Youth in Philanthropy (YIP), a semester-long program aiming to educate local high school students on the importance of philanthropy, will be starting up this January in Sudbury.

The program is run by the Foundation for MetroWest, the 20-year-old community foundation covering 33 cities and towns in MetroWest Massachusetts, including Wayland.

“They started the community foundation to serve a very specific area of communities to make sure that the needs here in our area were met,” said Caroline Murphy, a program officer for the Foundation. “That ranges anything from homelessness and food and security to youth development and education opportunities.”

The Foundation meets local needs in a variety of ways, including grant-making, free educational programming and more. According to Murphy, the Foundation for MetroWest gives about $1.3 million a year back into the community.

“There are about 600 nonprofits in this region, so you can imagine that there are a lot of nonprofits looking for resources, help, support and guidance, as well as funding,” Murphy said.

The Foundation launched the YIP program in 1997. According to its website, it “remains one of the largest youth philanthropy education programs in the country.” This year, the Foundation is operating 12 programs overall, and the spring semester class in Sudbury is starting up on January 20.

The program teaches youth about nonprofits and philanthropy. Students get the opportunity to read real grant applications, conduct site visits to nonprofits and make grant recommendations to the Board of Directors. In the end, each class gives away a total of $10,000, usually to two nonprofits that serve youth.

Picture above is one of the check presentations to a nonprofit by a YIP class.
Credit: Courtesy of Caroline Murphy
Pictured above is one of the check presentations to a nonprofit by a YIP class.

“It’s really youth helping to fund other youth programs in the area,” Murphy said. “And through that, they get to learn a little bit about what nonprofits need to operate and the needs in the community that exist, something they may not be fully aware of.”

Since the YIP program started in Sudbury a few years ago, Wayland students have consistently been involved. Last spring, seniors Kayla Sherman and Gabi Ragazzi were students in a class taught by Murphy.

“Kayla and Gabi were some really great leaders that I’ve had the opportunity to work with through our programming,” Murphy said.

According to Sherman, the program was a very rewarding experience. Her two main takeaways were learning how to analyze grants and having been able to help change people’s lives. Learning about the different local struggles, she was moved to help.

“It just made me realize that there is so much to be done in our community, in our state and obviously in our country,” Sherman said. “And that just makes me want to help.”

According to Murphy, Sherman’s class chose to fund three organizations: More Than Words in Waltham, the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress for youth with down syndrome and Out MetroWest for the LGBTQ community in the area.

Sherman ran and won the position of Fundraising Head in her class. She explains how the class reinforced her interest in philanthropy, showing her a different side of it that focuses on the behind-the-scenes work rather than taking a more hands-on approach. Sherman’s favorite part was the site visits.

“I think [the site visits were] the most important part because we saw where the money was going,” Sherman said. “We got to talk to real people about the experiences that they had, about these nonprofits and how they changed their lives.”

The class in Sudbury is being funded through the Sudbury Foundation, and it usually includes kids from towns north of Route 9: Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland, Weston, etc.

Anyone in grades nine through 12 can fill out an application, which asks some basic information. From there, applicants will be invited to do an informational interview, sharing why they’re interested and matching their schedules to the meetings. Twenty students are then accepted to spend 17 weeks in the program.

The application deadline is Dec. 18. To apply for the program in Sudbury, click here.

“We’d love to keep Wayland students involved,” Murphy said. “If you know anyone who’s interested, we’d love to have them.”