Students from the Grantmakers program at Idyllwild School pose with their grant recipients at Idyllwild School on May 22. Photos by Barbara Reese

Idyllwild School Youth Grantmakers, ages 11 t o 13, awarded nearly $4,000 in grants to five local nonprofits, each of whom supports the interests of young people.
The 13 middle school students also prepared after school for three months to participate in the May 22 presentation at Idyllwild School. Each student grantor participated in the awards ceremony, whether by formally opening and closing the ceremony, introducing and honoring program supporters, or announcing and awarding the grants. It was the students’ show from beginning to end.

The program, part of The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties’ Youth Philanthropy Initiative, aims to cultivate middle and high school students’ interest in community service and educate them about the traditions of giving and serving their community through philanthropy.

Adrian Hernandez (right) receives a certificate of recognition for work in the Grantmakers Program at Idyllwild School from Karen Lamprey of the Community Foundation while Diane Suechika and Trish Tuley look on.

  • The Art Alliance of Idyllwild will receive $475 as sponsorship of a deer sculpture. Children from the Idyllwild School smARTS program will paint the deer.
  • The school’s fourth grade will receive $538 for purchase of updated books on California missions.
  • A $1,000 gift goes to Idyllwild School PTA Haunted Ghost Town to purchase electronics, costumes, props and materials. In turn, the Ghost Town raises money for the school.
  • The smARTS program was awarded $900 to fund a field trip to a regional art museum or performing arts center for the entire middle school.
  • The final grant was $800 to the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center to fund the yearly insurance for the Idyllwild Skate Park and help fund the annual ISP Games in August.

Faculty supervisor George Companniott spoke about the students’ deliberative process in considering grant applications, working though grant guidelines and applicants’ eligibility factors, and deciding the grantees and the amounts to be awarded.

“My realization of how important this was to them was when they went through the process,” said Companiott. “I thought I would be talking a lot. I hardly said anything. I’m very proud of them.”

Donna Mercer, the other IS faculty sponsor, said of the students’ process, “It was a major task going through the grants but they worked together to reach consensus. We did not have to teach them group skills. They already knew how to do that.”

Karen Lampert, Community Foundation community initiatives coordinator, worked with the students through their 12 hours of training, to help them understand what motivates philanthropy, how it contributes to the life of a community and how it enriches those who give. “It’s been an honor and privilege to work with this fine group of students,” she said. “The things they’ve learned in this process will take them far.”

The students in the IS program are sixth and seventh graders. Eighth graders are not involved this year since the idea is for the grantors to follow the grants next year to ensure the grant money is used for the purposes intended.