Youth in Philanthropy

25 Stories for 25 Years

For 20 years, the Foundation's Youth in Philanthropy program has been encouraging high school students across the region to become community philanthropists. Berwick board member Damien Scoblink was one of the first students to participate in the program in 2003. As he reflected on his early involvement, Damien credits the education and hands-on experience for planting the seed for his community and nonprofit work today.

"Thinking back, my time in Youth in Philanthropy was my first real experience with community giving. Learning about how philanthropy worked on a local level was the most memorable part of the experience I have so much appreciation for the many groups who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make our community such a special place." (Damien Scoblink)

(Damien, at far right, pictured with the first Youth in Philanthropy class at Berwick High School, 2003.)


Emerson Noss may serve as one of Benton High School's faculty advisors for the program, but he, too, has first-hand experience of the program's impact. When reflecting on his time in the program from 2012-2015, Emerson remembers the unique opportunities to engage with community leaders and local organizations. Each year, students experience community giving by learning about philanthropy, researching school-based and community needs, exercising leadership and decision-making skills, and participating in their own grantmaking process. Through the generosity of program sponsors, each school awards up to $5,000 annually to their community.


"No other high school club or curriculum can provide this engaging, rewarding experience where students are given the resources to leave an impact on their community." (Emerson Noss)

(Emerson and classmate teach elementary students about philanthropy, 2013.)

Youth in Philanthropy began with just one school in Berwick. Through regional growth and continued success of the program, 15 schools and over 200 students are participating in 2023-2024.