For the fifth year, Idyllwild Middle School Youth Grantmakers evaluated applications for activities to support local youth activities and made difficult decisions awarding the available funds.

Started in 2013 with the help of the Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, and continued with the support of the Idyllwild Community Fund, the program has helped several local programs whose activities benefit local youth — from pre-school to high school.

Jayne Davis, a ICF board member, has worked with the students since last fall. “They are truly amazing,” she said. “And it’s gone very well. They ask very tough questions.”

In order to review the grant applications, Davis and faculty, George Companiott III and Donna Mercer, had to educate the group about philanthropy — its history, its purpose and its use. They taught the students how to devise criteria to evaluate proposals and ask meaningful questions while on a field trip to applicant sites.

This year, the grantmakers awarded $4,000 to five grants applicants from a larger pool of applications.

Three groups received $1,000 each. The Idyllwild PTA Afterschool program was one. The Idyllwild School Booster program received money for its scholarship program in support of the school’s trips to Catalina, Joshua Tree and other locations.

The Idyllwild Soroptimists also received $1,000 to purchase more supplies for the Youth Hygiene Closest at the Idyllwild Help Center.

PTA’s smARTS program was awarded $960 to help defray costs for buses to take students to a special program at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.

And Idyllwild School music teacher William Beuche was granted $40 to purchase more supplies for the music programs.

ICF began the concept of Youth Grantmakers several years ago. High school students composed the grant-making groups. The Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers, with the initiation and cooperation of ICF, was the first program composed solely of middle-school students.

This was Davis’ first time assisting the grantmakers.