Meet the Next Generation of Community Leaders
For the past 20 years, United Way of Greater Cleveland has facilitated the John K. Mott Youth Fund Distribution Committee (YFDC), named for a former staff member of United Way who cared deeply about imparting philanthropic values to youth. During this time, more than 600 high school juniors and seniors from across Greater Cleveland have come together to review proposals for programs and services for young people and to recommend small grants to support these efforts.
This year, 20 students came together from seven public and private high schools across Cuyahoga County to learn leadership skills, engage with problems youth face in our community and designate $25,000 worth of United Way grants to groups improving the lives of Greater Cleveland’s youth.
The YFDC program also provides an introduction to the importance of philanthropy. “The youth of Greater Cleveland are motivated to create a better city,” said Augie Napoli, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland. “It’s crucial that United Way provides opportunities like YFDC so that we use their enthusiasm and passion to improve the lives of those across Cleveland.”
Under the guidance of United Way staff, the students reviewed 30 grant proposals, assessed the importance of each submitted program/project in relation to others, and defended their choices using multiple criteria and input from the group. Each student brought their own unique perspective and life experience to committee discussions concerning the daily struggles resulting from urban poverty.
This year our committee chose to focus its funding in the areas of substance abuse prevention, violence prevention, mental health, mentoring, and racial equity. Organizations that will receive $5,000 grants to work on these efforts are the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, LGBT Center of Cleveland, Rainey Institute, Recovery Resources, and West Side Catholic Center. Funding from YFDC will enable over 700 youth in Cuyahoga county to receive free access to these much-needed programs.