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Smith Continues to Serve on Youth Philanthropy Board

When Cameron Smith '20 joined the Youth Philanthropy Board (YPB) as a sophomore, she could not have envisioned how it would impact her life. Now in her third year, and as the only three-year member of the board, she feels like the “senior advisor.”
Beaming, Cameron shared: “I simply love it! Being a part of this organization has opened my eyes to challenges faced by students in New Castle County that I had no idea existed. As a group, we are in a position to affect positive change for other students in the area, some with very difficult circumstances. I also have a chance to interact with a diverse group of students from schools all across New Castle County. My world has gotten bigger because of my involvement with the YPB.”

The board’s task is to define need, solicit grant proposals, evaluate them, and then disperse funding to help implement the selected programs. The budgets vary yearly, and this year the board has $15,000 to disperse into non-profit efforts designed to benefit local communities. The group is determined to make every one of those dollars count. The board selected three areas of need—recidivism, financial literacy, and trauma—and proposals were due December 20, with notifications of acceptance expected to be made by April 1, 2020.

The 18-member group will review all proposals, conduct site visits, and hold personal interviews as they work to make their selections. At least one proposal from each of the identified areas will be awarded a grant. The process is taken very seriously by the board and all final decisions are based on consensus from the group. “We are learning and using a variety of life skills as we work together to make decisions and select which proposals will receive our funding,” noted Cameron.

Cameron continued: “Because of my work with the board, I am a more empathetic person. I always knew I had advantages that some others did not, but those differences and their impact have become very real and important to me. When my time on the board ends, I know that I will always find ways to participate in community service. It is now a part of who I am.”

Community service is not new to Cameron. She is currently an active EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) for the Longwood Fire Company. She is also president of Sanford’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), a club that works to provide community outreach to those in need. She is a member of the field hockey and tennis teams, and an honor roll student. Cameron has received several college acceptances, and she is still reflecting on that milestone decision.

A photograph of the YPB members recently appeared in Hoy en News. The accompanying article explained that Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) sponsors the YPB to encourage younger generations to become more involved in philanthropy. Retired Delaware educator Phyllis Wynn established the Youth Philanthropy Fund in 1999 because she wanted to encourage youth to become more involved in philanthropic ventures. Students who serve on the YPB are nominated by their principal or guidance counselor.

DCF President and CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay was quoted in the article as saying, “The Youth Philanthropy Board program gives students an opportunity to enjoy the pleasure and the challenges of charitable giving, including determining how to make the greatest impact on quality of life with the limited resources available. It’s an important program because we are cultivating the philanthropists of tomorrow.”
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