Twenty-one sixth through eighth grade Idyllwild Middle School students attended the first after-school session of the Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers on Thursday, Sept. 15. They will attend eight two-hour after school sessions learning to be philanthropists and community volunteers. This marks the beginning of the fifth year of this groundbreaking program that teaches young people how to give back to their community.
The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino launched the program for high school students in 2009 in the Riverside area. They decided to offer it to Idyllwild Middle School in 2012 with support from the Idyllwild Community Fund Advisory Committee. For the first three years, ICF assisted Community Foundation representatives in providing after school instructional sessions for the students.
Then in 2015, Community Foundation priorities changed and the pilot program was slated to terminate. The Idyllwild Community Fund Advisory Committee voted to continue the program and raise the majority of money to fund the program. The Community Foundation provides both financial assistance and supplies training materials. ICF provides student instruction, assisted by Idyllwild Middle School teachers George Companiott and Donna Mercer. ICF board member Holly Guntermann heads the program. At the end of each IYG training session, students review grant applications and reward up to $4,000 in grants to local nonprofits whose missions include teens.