Philanthropic Youth from Across America Gather for the 4th Annual Youth Philanthropy Connect Conference

2014 YPC ConfLogo

Youth Philanthropy Connect (YPC) started out as a simple idea: the meeting of philanthropically minded youth to learn from and connect with each other. Now, the YPC Youth Leadership Team and staff are putting the finishing touches on their upcoming 4th annual conference to be held July 24 – 26 at the Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim, CA. When the Youth Philanthropy Connect conference began its focus was to engage youth, ages 8-21, from specifically family foundations.  Now all types of foundations are a part of the conference representing a variety of different models for engaging youth in grantmaking from families to schools to communities.

The Dekko Foundation, based in Indiana, whose members are participating in YPC for the second time this year, began its Youth Pod program over 20 years ago. The private family foundation partners with community foundations in thirteen communities to support community youth as they learn and practice philanthropic skills. Jenna Ott, Program Officer for Dekko Foundation, says, “Great things happen when adults step back and consider what children need to grow and develop.  We believe that young people are a tremendous untapped resource that can bring about important positive community change.” Philanthropy is a skill that Youth Philanthropy Connect believes needs to be taught to all children, the younger the better. According to the recent “Kids Give” study produced by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, parents talking to children about charity increases the likelihood that the child will give to charity by 20%.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Weaving a Web of Support”—recognizing that the best philanthropy is achieved when each individual philanthropist is a part of a greater web of support, involving family, peer colleagues, community supporters, and experts who listen and learn together to create greater joint impact on the causes they care about.  The conference helps youth and the adults who support them explore various models and effective practices in youth philanthropy, connect with colleagues and peers of other next generation boards, and identify and take home new tools and knowledge to enhance their work.

Mike Tracy, a member of the youth board of the Tracy Family Foundation based in Illinois and a college sophomore, shared, “The Youth Philanthropy Connect conference opened my eyes to the broader philanthropy world outside of my family’s foundation and philanthropic work.  Being involved in philanthropy has given me a lens to see the world and has led to my volunteering personally and being involved as a Youth Philanthropy Connect Leadership Team member.  I am looking forward to the conference to be inspired by the diversity of youth from across the country and learn more about how foundations work and can have the most impact.“

This year’s conference features keynote speakers: Dave DeLuca, Head of Campaigns for, Simone Bernstein, co-founder at the age of 17 of VolunTEEN Nation, and Erin Schrode, co-founder as a teen of the now international Teens Turning Green; a Giving Circle supporting Los Angeles based nonprofits that engage youth in their organizations; a series of concurrent workshop sessions geared specifically towards youth and the adults who support them; and lots of fun networking opportunities.  The conference is sponsored by Foundant Technologies and the Tarsadia Foundation.

For more information, download the full program.  Follow the conference on Twitter at @EngagingYouth and #YPC14. YPC is a special program of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation based in Studio City, CA and has been developed in partnership with other family foundations interested in engaging youth in their work.