Educating youth through leadership and action
By Ina Miller
Photos provided byLYPC
The Louisville Youth Philanthropy Council, or LYPC, has empowered youth to learn, lead and take action locally. We allow students to explore our community’s challenges and use philanthropy as a vehicle to make positive change by investing in local nonprofits doing the important work. LYPC students have supported mental health in youth, equine therapy, immigrants and refugee care, just to name a few. With more than $275,000 donated to over 43 different local organizations, the impact of LYPC over the past 15 years is extraordinary.
Working as Executive Director of LYPC with these remarkable students inspires me every day. Watching them experience the program is rewarding because they want to make a difference and leave with the knowledge and experience to make positive change. Not only have I witnessed our youth gain philanthropic understanding, but I’ve also seen growth in their confidence and abilities as individuals. As LYPC alumnus Sydney Bright said, “I am going to change the world, and LYPC is my first step.”
As we turn the page on a new chapter in our organization, the LYPC is envisioning ways to expand youth philanthropy in Louisville. We genuinely believe that anyone can be a philanthropist and that everyone’s voice is essential. To us, philanthropy is part of the fabric of our communities. As we look to solve root issues and create a thriving society, we must include youth and philanthropy as a tool. I hope these students’ stories inspire you as much as they inspire me. Their philanthropic spirits are shining bright!
Claudia is a graduate of Bellarmine University and is currently the Hispanic services coordinator for Catholic Charities of Louisville.
When I came to LYPC as a sophomore in High School, I had no idea of the meaning of a mission statement or philanthropy. By the time I was a senior, I didn’t just have an understanding of those two words and applicable knowledge of them as concepts, but I left with the knowledge of the vast world of nonprofits in Louisville. I remember feeling empowered as a young student in LYPC to be given the space to decide where the money went and what organization fit our group’s mission most after spending a significant part of the school year researching. The best part was to visit that site the following year and talk to staff about how the money was used.
Getting involved in giving back, being informed in your community, and learning the interconnects of our city is an important muscle to exercise at a young age. There are so many specific needs that, unfortunately, are not addressed systematically at large. LYPC supports students as they research these issues and develop a mission statement. LYPC also teaches fundraising skills and how to allocate these important funds in a professional environment. This setting allows students to learn in a real-world environment where decisions have real consequences. I carried these skills into college and use them daily in my professional career.
LYPC opened my world to see that helping people could be a job. The program has heavily influenced what I choose to study in college and where I work now.
Adriana is currently a student at Bellarmine University.
On August 25, 2006, my family and I embarked on a journey to a new country where we came with nothing and knew nobody. Thankfully, due to different nonprofit organizations in the city, we got the aid that we needed to be successful in this country.
Growing up, I wanted to be able to give back to these nonprofits. During this time, I could only think of being able to give back with my time by volunteering or uniting others to volunteer with me.
While this is a great way to give back, organizations cannot survive and continue to help people without funding. I always had in mind that I would need to acquire money to be able to grant money. Although, thanks to the LYPC, I was taught differently. One of the things that we learned that you do not have to have a large sum of money or come from a family with money to help in the nonprofit sector.
Thankfully, due to this, I have seen the intersectionality between my future career path of being a physician and a philanthropist. Not only will I hope to give back to places that helped me, but I hope to open a free clinic where people who do not have access to insurance or proper healthcare can get appropriate medical attention.
A medical building is not easy to maintain, so I would need to go and ask for grants from different companies and people. An essential aspect of the class is learning how to do “ask presentations” and later going on them to raise money for the following year’s class. With these experiences I have gained, I now have the tools to work toward my goals.
I have been fortunate enough where my path has led me towards philanthropy, but many other youths want to find a way to give back, which is just as important. Our city is ever expanding, and sadly the problems that plague this city, such as poverty, pollution and general lack of resources, are also growing.
It is vital that all of us collectively use our time in a way to help alleviate these issues. My high school had a motto that what you do makes a difference. Even if it is just sitting with someone on a Saturday listening to their life story, planting trees, or serving food in a kitchen, it will undoubtedly change someone’s life and make a positive change in our city.
Louisville Youth Philanthropy Council
325 W Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202