Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Foundation Programs Work to Create Young Philanthropists of Color [Buffalo Business First]

Mar 04, 2016 | Posted in News

Buffalo Business First - March 4, 2016:

By: Tracey Drury
Buffalo Business First Reporter

A new foundation program will train young people of color about the concept of philanthropy, teaching them about giving as well as giving them the chance to award two grants.

It’s the next in a series of programs developed by the Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative (CGLI), an initiative of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo that works to increase philanthropy within and for Western New York communities of color. Other programs include the Success Looks like Me program, and trips to Washington, D.C.

The new leadership academy begins March 4, with 10 young philanthropists touring BAK USA, a socially-minded Buffalo computer device manufacturer. As part of the program, each student will receive a tablet to keep that’s preloaded with apps that build awareness of social issues, such as the Charity Miles app that contributes to charity for every mile a student walks, runs or bikes.

Over the next few weeks, the students will learn the concept of giving, learn about personal finances and identify opportunities in the community. Later they’ll hear ideas from local youth-focused agencies during a Shark Tank-like pitch-fest before awarding two $1,500 grants.

“It’s modeled after a giving circle model, but for high school youth of color,” said Landrum Beard, CGLI director.

Teaching the students about philanthropy is a major focus of the program, he said. So is helping them figure out what they're passionate about, and how they can support those issues.

“They do it on a daily basis with their church or with their school, but they name it ‘service to their community.’ They don’t identify it as philanthropy,” Beard said. “We wanted to give them some context around philanthropy, what is it, what does it look like and that they do small little things to assist their community.”

Ideally, sparking an interest in philanthropy early would lead to an ongoing interest, and possibly participation later in CGLI’s Emerging Philanthropists of Color program for young professionals; or other foundation programs.

“We want to connect our youth with our young professionals and with our seasoned philanthropists,” Beard said. “We want to create a pipeline of philanthropists in communities of color and that starts in high school, carries on in college and when they’re beginning their career. We’re making that comfort level so they can say, ‘I have always given back to my community. This is what it looks like.”

Funding comes through a 2014 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Plans call for successive cohorts of students in later years.

To view this story in Buffalo Business First, click here.

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