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Q: What is a next gen or youth advisory board, and why does my organization need one?

A: For foundations, engaging your youth through a junior or next generation board is one of the best ways to create and promote a successful culture, tradition, and “family business” of philanthropy. When kids learn and grow in the foundation’s culture, succession planning is easier. Engaging your youth ensures they develop an understanding of the family foundation’s mission, values, governance, and volunteerism, long before they are old enough for board service. For nonprofits, youth advisory boards, which are often comprised of alumnae, graduates, or dedicated teen volunteers from the community, are an impactful way to engage the community and youth in its work. Additionally, for nonprofits whose programs benefit youth, advisory board members can often give opinions and suggestions from the perspective of your target audience. For more information about engaging youth in philanthropy and a guide on how to begin, check out Igniting the Spark: Creating Effective Next Gen Boards, an article we wrote with the National Center for Family Philanthropy!

Q: How old should philanthropic youth be?

A: In the past, junior boards tended to include younger members of a family foundation, aged 18-35, who were transitioning into leadership positions on the family foundation board. However, recently, more foundations have begun aging down, and a few vocal foundations and emerging teen philanthropy networks have begun advocating the inclusion of younger children and sharing best practices in the field. YPC, a special project of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation, is redefining the way foundations and nonprofit organizations engage younger generations through this advocacy work. Boards across the country are breaking the traditional mold and involving youth in elementary, middle, and high school.  Many foundations engage kids as young as eight years old, and some even younger! YPC seeks to connect these innovators and continue spreading the message of youth involvement. By learning from each other in order to build best practices and knowledge, we are creating the next generation of leaders. If these youth are empowered to change the world now, just imagine what they’ll do in the future!

Q: Really? That young?

A: Absolutely! Find out more on information on youth grantmaking, family foundations that successfully involve grandchildren, and ways to engage youth from a very young age in our Resource Room.

Q: Our family foundation, school, or giving circle has considered involving youth, but we haven’t formally started yet. Could YPC’s Regional Gatherings be for us?

A: What better way to inspire your trustees and board than to meet, network, and spend time with those who are actively involving youth? Last year’s conference enabled participants at all levels to successfully take their next steps. Many foundations who have only considered engaging youth brought their kids to help introduce them to the world of philanthropy and left with many resources and connections to aid them in their process of creating a next gen board. You may bring your entire group, or one representative trustee and 1-2 youth. Either way, you’ll come home with concrete ideas, materials, and the inspiration you need to get started!

Q: We have a donor-advised fund, or are an active philanthropic family, and want to involve the next generation. How do YPC events apply to us?

A: YPC events include a wide variety of sessions on the process of giving, including how to do it diligently and with impact, while simultaneously engaging younger generations. Our attendees are comprised of a diverse group from community foundations, family foundations, school-based programs, donor-advised funds, etc.

Q: How do I learn more?

A: If you’d like to talk to a member of our youth leadership team or their adult advisor, please visit the Contact Us page. These team members would be happy to answer any questions your trustee or potential youth member may have about YPC! We’d love to hear from you!

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