In 2003, the youngest Fox family members were welcomed to attend board meetings, which were typically held at family residences and often during school vacations. After a few years of informal youth engagement, the family realized that something more formal was needed to engage the growing number of interested youth. The Junior Board was founded in 2006 as a way for the kids, ages 8-18, to learn about philanthropy and gain hands-on experience in grantmaking.
The Junior Board members are now not only excellent grantmakers in their own right but are developing personal and professional skills that will prepare them for future board service and careers. Today, founding Junior Board members have begun the transition into more adult roles in the foundation. The Board of Directors is extraordinarily supportive of the youth, always asking for their opinions and valuing their input. They have expressed their delight that this experience has provided younger family members with the opportunity to not only develop their own talents, but also learn how to help other children who have been less fortunate.
Click the video below to hear from some of our Junior Board members about their experience.
In 2008, the Junior Board presented at Exponent Philanthropy’s National Conference, and led a Council on Foundations webinar. From these new experiences in the field, the youth began seeking out other family foundations to learn about their work and vice versa. These connections and meetings with other youth culminated in the creation of a retreat bringing other family foundations engaging youth together to share and learn from one another—this effort is now called Youth Philanthropy Connect.
The Board allocates $2,000 per Junior Board Member per year to make one or two grants to a mission-aligned organization of their choice. The member works with the Junior Board Advisor to submit a Grant Nomination Form and then present to the full Board at the quarterly meetings. The Junior Board attends regular board meetings and has a voice at the table, although not a vote. Due to the addition of the Collaborative Grant process and an expressed interest in becoming more active grantmakers, the Junior Board also meets separately throughout the year. The inaugural Junior Board was comprised of five members (four family and one non-family) and now has 7 members (five family and two non-family).
In 2015 the members of the Junior Board used their individual grant funding to support the following 5 organizations:
In 2014 the members of the Junior Board used their individual grant funding to support the following 5 organizations:
North Coast Teen Center (A program of the Davenport Resource Service Center)
The organizations chosen by the Junior Board to receive grant funding engage youth in many different ways and they are all innovative, exciting, collaborative, and sustainable. Please click the links to find out more about each of them. The members of the Junior Board are proud to be a part of the wonderful work and impact made by these programs!
Junior Board Member, Liam, with grantee “A Place Called Home” during a site visit
The Junior Board Collaborative Grant process began in 2014 as a targeted way for the members to practice their grantmaking skills in a real world context. The Junior Board leads the process by selecting the theme, reviewing the applications, completing site visits, and making the final grant decisions.
Mentorship: Support to Success
The Junior Board is excited to begin the third cycle of the collaborative grant in April 2016. This year’s grant, Mentorship: Support to Success, focuses on nonprofits and programs that provide youth with supportive adult mentors. The members of the Junior Board recognize that a key ingredient in the recipe for youth success is the presence of positive adult role models. Youth who have relationships with supportive adults are more likely to make the transition to adulthood more smoothly and have better outcomes than their peers in all development areas. If you have any questions about this invitation only grant process, please contact Alexis Marion, Program Officer, for more information at Alexis (at) fcfox (dot) org.
Life & Leadership Ready
In 2015, the second cycle of the collaborative grant, Life & Leadership Ready, focused on nonprofits and their programs that teach youth the life and leadership skills they need to be successful in their school, career, and adulthood. The Junior Board chose the following 16 organizations to receive funding:
S.T.E.M Through the Arts
In 2014, the Board allocated $50,000 to the Junior Board to develop their own collaborative grantmaking process. This grant process focused on nonprofits and their programs that teach math and/or science THROUGH the arts in the Los Angeles area. The Junior Board chose the following 8 organizations to receive funding:
9 Dots (STEM After-School Program)
EmpowHer Institute (STEAM Ahead! After-School Program)
No Limits (STEM Theater Program)
Side Street Projects (Kinetic Creatures)
Two Bit Circus (STEAM Carnival)
Venice Arts (Our Ocean’s Edge)
Woodcraft Rangers (Skateboard Engineering Program)
Youth Mentoring Action Network (Electro Synthesis: STEM and Music Program)
As a former classroom teacher and a parent, I knew that we’d need to dial in to the kids’ interests, skills, and values, while making it fun. Because the foundation makes grants to children’s education programs, tapping into their interests was easy. The Junior Board advisor, Ingrid Fox, and I made the mission and family values a point of discussion, and elicited the kids’ ideas and vision for a better future for children. Tapping into skills was similarly easy – for example, we asked the tweens and teens for technology advice! The kids actually infused amazing energy into the family business of philanthropy.
– Dana Marcus, J.D., founding executive director and mother of a founding junior board member.
L-R Kylie, Jame, Daveen, and Katie
As a current board member who started working as a Junior Board Member at the age of 12, I can whole-heartedly say that I was more prepared, more interested, and more engaged coming from a Junior Board experience. I have always loved that our board meetings and retreats had an open door policy, meaning that no matter your age or position in the foundation you were invited and encouraged to attend meetings and voice your opinions in a safe space. While in the younger years I may not have had much to add, I learned by listening and experiencing our grantmaking process. As I grew up, I was not only more knowledgeable in foundation business, but also more confident in my ability to discuss and understand grantmaking and express my views.
-Katie Marcus Reker, Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation (Graduating Senior College Student)
I initially became interested in my family’s Junior Board from my cousins that attended the first meeting. It all seems so long ago now, but I knew that the foundation was a way for youth to help other youth and I remember that sounding like the coolest thing ever. I love going on site visits and attending events for the nonprofits we have funded to see the truly inspiring work they all do. As a result of my involvement with the junior board, I have learned to always ask for help if I have any concerns because while work on my own may be good, work done with the help and collaboration of my peers and advisors is nearly always stronger. Without my early involvement in the foundation, I most likely would never set a foot in it.
-Jamie Semel, Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation (College Student)
If you have questions about our Junior Board, please contact Alexis Marion, Junior Board Advisor.
Stay in the know and sign up for our FREE newsletter featuring the latest in Youth Philanthropy news and upcoming events
Register for Grant Alert Notifications by clicking here.