Rising Up: Hearing from the Next Generation of Changemakers

By: Natalie
Natalie, a 7th grader at Haven Middle School, is a participant in Allowance for Good's 2016 Spring Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class in the Evanston location

The Evanston ELP class engaged in an activity.
How have you been a philanthropist in the past and how do you envision being one in the future? 

I feel very lucky that since fourth grade I have been a part of the Justin Wynn Leadership Academy. As a part of this, I have had the chance to do a lot of community service. In the past couple of years I have done many soup kitchens, volunteered at a retirement home, worked at a basketball tournament where the money goes to a good cause, and I have made holiday cards for kids in hospitals. In the future, I do see myself doing more but also for bigger causes. I am passionate about the issue of helping people in need. I believe that everyone should have their necessary daily needs met. For example, I have helped with food drives that go to people that don't have enough food. In the future I hope to help build homes for low income families. I can see myself not only helping the Evanston community but also helping others around the world. 

The Evanston ELP class listens carefully.

Allow Good: Engaging High School Students in Philanthropy

By: Rachel
Rachel is on the leadership team for Northwestern University's chapter of Allow Good

Allow Good teacher engages
students at the first class at YOU.
"Not only do millennials lack the kind of empathy that allows them to feel concerned for others, but they also have trouble even intellectually understanding others' points of view," reported Time magazine writer Joel Stein in 2013. In his article, Stein accused millennials of having the lowest generational dedication to civic engagement but the highest rates of narcissism as the so-called "Me, Me, Me Generation." However, I feel this increasingly popular narrow mindset mislabels individuals as self-absorbed when in actuality many are empathetic and engaged and those who are uninvolved in their community simply are not presented with adequate accessible volunteer opportunities. The issue of disengaged youth greatly motivated myself and a group of my Northwestern peers to work with Allowance for Good in producing a high school program teaching students about philanthropy through a civic engagement and social justice lens. We felt high schoolers deserved a chance to be treated as competent young-adults, educated about their local non-profits, and then given the resources and skills to responsibly give $1000 back to their community.

The idea for this curriculum stemmed from a spring course my project partner, Imani Wilson, and I took at Northwestern called the Philanthropy Lab. We spent the course learning about the history of philanthropy, how to evaluate non-profits, and meeting with potential grantees to receive a portion of our class grant of $100,000, which was sponsored through the Once Upon a Time Foundation (OUTF). We worked on the class's Child and Youth Development Team and in the end granted $20,000 to Girls in the Game (GiG), a local Chicago organization that encourages girls to use sports to improve self-esteem and reinforce healthy lifestyles. Once the class ended, OUTF encouraged students in our class to apply for their Changemakers Grant of $5,000 to sponsor any project that would educate students about philanthropy.

Rachel, at the Allow Good teacher training
Shortly after, we were put in contact with Allowance for Good and discussed our vision of an adaptation of our philanthropy lab class taught to high schoolers by Northwestern students. Soon after filling out paperwork, we received the $5,000 grant and quickly found two more NU students, Fannie and Matt, to join the project as credit for our Civic Engagement Certificate non-profit internship class. Fall quarter, we worked tirelessly to create a pilot program with 14 lesson plans lasting 45 minutes each including a detailed teacher's manual. Last week, we spent 6 hours training teachers in philanthropy education and classroom facilitation strategies. Now, I am happy to announce that our first day of classes will launch last week at Niles North High School and Evanston Township High School's after-school program called Y.O.U.

Reflecting on the past few months, I believe the best part of working on the project has been seeing the assets of my team come together. Fannie joined the team with expertise in philanthropy curriculum development. As a passionate social justice advocate on campus, Matt brought a wealth of knowledge on teaching students about current inequality issues. And, Imani's ability to pay close attention to detail and insistence on meeting deadlines helped our group stay on pace. With their contributions, the curriculum and camaraderie among group members has surpassed anything I originally imagined.

Looking to the future, I can't wait to see the impact of the curriculum on high school students. Once presented with the opportunity to learn and give back, I am confident that these students will rise to the occasion and erase any association with the so-called "Me, Me, Me Generation."

Philanthropy in Depth

By: Moira
Moira is a participant in our Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Changemakers class. 

In Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Changemakers, we have the ability to delve deeper into philanthropy. At our last meeting, we went into more detail about the grant-making process, an extremely important part of the health of nonprofit organizations. The grant-making process starts with a healthy grantor-grantee relationship which must be mutually beneficial. Secondly, we learned about the mechanics of the grant-making process. Specifically, we learned about Request for Proposals which are documents created by grantors that describe the possible funding opportunities. After this, grantees are able to submit their proposals about what they intend to do with the funds and then the grantor will decide which grantee to allocate their funds to. One interesting fact that we learned about the grantmaking process is that there is no singular correct way to go about it: each different grantor/grantee will do it differently. 
A second topic of our class was exploring and learning more about nonprofit governance and accountability. A nonprofit is accountable to the public since their goals have to do with improving quality of life for some sector of the public. Within individual non-profits, there are many people that help the organization stay on the right track. For example, the Board of Directors is a group of people that oversee the actions of the non-profit in order to ensure that they are staying true to their mission and values. Without these people, there would be no third person perspective that has the organization's best interests in mind which would have a detrimental effect on the organization. 

In class, we did an activity in which, as a group, we had to decide where to allocate funds to as if we were grantors. Some of the most important factors we looked for in organizations were transparency, accountability, financial health, and efficiency. It is important to consider these criteria because they will ensure that a grantor is giving to a non-profit organization that will be responsible with the treasure given to them. The idea of criteria for organizations to give to ties into being an educated philanthropist in order to effectively give your time, talent, and treasure. 

Integrating Philanthropic Lessons Into Everyday Life

By: Bella
Bella is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

This week in the ELP class we reflected on our seven weeks worth of work and discussions plus activities and fun. This experience was only seven weeks long and even though it was short I absorbed the wonderful and inspiring lessons each week.

My favorite parts of ELP was talking about global human rights and access to basic needs, such as clean water, education, shelter and food. I found this interesting, because I had know idea about the millennium goals that were suppose to be completed by 2015, but they were not fulfilled. While talking about this topic we also discussed the 5 point Plan, which was put in place of the millennium goals.

I will continue being a philanthropist and young catalyst, by thinking of others and making my goal for each day to help some in need, whether it be picking up a notebook for someone or buying a lunch for someone. To continue my work as a philanthropist I will advocate and give back to throughs who are fighting for equal rights, such as Malala, who advocates for equal education rights for women. I also feel obligated to be doing any philanthropic activity I can participate in, to fulfil my passion of being a philanthropist.

I want to learn more about how to give and what it means to give in a philanthropic way. I am very intrested in different and empowering ways to be involved in philanthropic events or activities. I also want to learn more about the five point plan and why they made them much more broader. Throughout this ELP class I have learned more about philanthropy and how to be a leader. These skills and ideas I will now take and apply them to my everyday life.

Bella writes, "I am a Catalyst for Good because I think that everyone should have access to clean and safe water."

Family Foundations: Learning into Practice

By: Jackson
Jackson is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

As someone who is relatively familiar with philanthropy and who thinks that they know almost everything, I am delightfully surprised by how much the ELP Explorers class has taught me over the last few weeks. However, this week’s course in particular connected with me on a different level. Our class had the opportunity to speak with high-ranking members of various foundations and gain insight as to how philanthropy works outside of our office space.

The majority of our time was spent learning about family foundations. A family foundation is one whose funds are derived from the members of a family. We learned about how family foundations operate, how they determine their grantees, and what they do to ensure success. We also learned that simply donating money as a family is not the same as forming a family foundation. While donating money may be a charitable and generous thing that families do around a dinner table, family foundations make certain that those same donations provide long term aid for worthy organizations.

If given the opportunity to create my own family foundation, I would support three things: providing children with the proper resources for formal education, working to maintain the environment, and researching cures for disabilities and mental illness. In regards to education, I strongly believe that all children deserve an opportunity to learn and grow. Even though more children throughout the world are receiving a formal education, the numbers are still not where they could be. I believe that through proper emphasis and funding, every child in the world could someday say that they have been to school.

Next, I feel that maintaining the environment and creating a more eco-friendly society is crucial. With global warming intensifying by the day, it is time for us to change how we live. Specifically, I would fund efforts to increase the use of clean, reusable energy and decrease the burning of fossil fuels.

Illness and disability research is a cause that is very close to my heart. Various members of my family have suffered through Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases. Though I do my best every day to support them, sometimes that is not enough. That is why, if I were to form a family foundation, I would strive to support these research organizations.

The ELP Explorers class has taught me so much about philanthropy and leadership. With the skills that I learn in this course, I hope to someday use them to make the world a healthier, cleaner, and generally better place.

Jackson discusses the definition of philanthropy with his classmate Arielle.