Southwest Pennsylvania Foundations Launch Girls as Grantmakers Initiative

The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, the Jewish Women's Foundation, and the FISA Foundation have launched a program to let young women make grants to address youth issues, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Through the Women and Girls Foundation's Girls as Grantmakers program, twenty students, representing a range of backgrounds, will be selected to steward a grantmaking budget of $19,000 contributed by the three foundations. While the Women and Girl's Foundation will manage the money and the teens will receive advice from education professionals and nonprofit groups, the girls will have a free hand to support whatever projects they see fit. Officials at the three foundations hope to expand the initiative throughout the region, giving girls a stronger say in matters that are important to them while developing their leadership skills and deepening their interest in philanthropy and voluntarism.

Youth philanthropy was pioneered locally in 1998 by the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, which set up a youth advisory committee of about twenty students from area high schools to manage $25,000 earmarked for youth issues. "If we expose young people to community service and philanthropy at a younger age, they'll be engaged with it throughout their lives," said Bobbi Watt Geer, president of the foundation.

Bill Zlatos. "Girl Power in Grant Giving." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 02/18/2005.