The Idyllwild Community Fund is planning to assume full responsibility of the local Youth Grantmakers program for 2015-16. The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, in conjunction with ICF, initiated the program in 2013 but decided it has successfully nurtured it and has withdrawn its financial and staff support.

The foundation had funded a high school youth grantmakers program, a precursor to the Idyllwild program. Former ICF members Trish Tuley and Dianne Suechika suggested the foundation expand the pilot program to middle-school students and recommended Idyllwild School.

The foundation, along with the ICF, agreed and has managed the program since its implementation. After three years, the foundation is proud of the accomplishments in Idyllwild, but can no longer fund the program as it expands the high-school grantmakers to other county areas.

“I was surprised when the Community Foundation decided not to continue the program,” said ICF President Marshall Smith. “But we have agreed in principle to continue it.”

ICF has provided the student philanthropists about $4,000 each year to award to local non-profits that want to offer projects focused on the local student population. In 2013, the first year of this initiative, the Youth Grantmakers awarded $3,713; in 2014, the awards totaled $4,000; and this March, the awards totaled $3,500 to local non-profits ranging from the Idyllwild Garden Club to the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks.

While the local ICF provided the money for the grants, the umbrella CF was providing slightly more than $6,000 to oversee and implement the program.

For example, CF staff provided classes and skills to Youth Grantmakers’ sessions so they could collectively review and assess the grant applications.

If ICF board members volunteer to provide the education component, Smith said the direct costs would be about $6,000 and the CF may contribute $1,000.

In order to raise the $5,000, ICF plans a fundraiser and appeal letter to people supportive of local youth and educational efforts. Former Idyllwild School Physical Education Teacher Holly Guntermann has volunteered to head the continuation of Youth Grantmakers program.