News & Events

Image AYPI: A Year in Review

By Amina Luvsanchultem
2021-2022 AYPI Chair

The Arlington Youth Philanthropy Initiative (AYPI) has been an unforgettable experience where I had the opportunity to work with motivated and hard-working students from all grade levels. From our work with the first-ever Youth Summit on Philanthropy to funding amazing, youth-led projects including the creation of a mental-health podcast, a new community garden, and so many more, I couldn’t have asked for a better Board of students to collaborate and grow with. 

AYPI has had an extremely productive year in many ways. Even with the pandemic, the Youth Board was able to overcome obstacles to expand the reach and awareness of AYPI and improve the format and efficiency of the Board. I found that the strength of the Youth Board came from its youth-directed and collaborative environment. This effort provided excellent results for each of us individually and as a group.

AYPI meeting

AYPI received nine grant requests this last year. With an affirmative vote of the Youth Board, the Fund for Youth Philanthropy provided grant support for the #INCLUSIONISCOLORFUL Fashion Show, the “Brief Dive” Podcast, A Child Lights Up The World, and WL Victory Garden Club. These projects delve into issues of great significance ranging from addressing the stigmas within the intellectual or developmental disability community (IDD) to creating a community garden to help solve food insecurity. 

The #INCLUSIONISCOLORFUL Fashion Show is an initiative started by leaders within the Best Buddies community focused on raising money in support of the IDD community through handmade or “thrift flipping” clothing pieces and outfits.

A “Brief Dive” Podcast is an excellent podcast series created by a local high schooler that discusses the importance of mental health and provides the unique perspective of a teenager.

A Child Lights Up The World is a nonprofit with a mission of promoting safety by buying and obtaining daytime bike lights for the Build a Bike program at the Phoenix Bikes in Arlington.

Lastly, the WL Victory Garden Club is a club that is planning a local garden outside of WL in place of the trailers. They plan to donate their freshly grown vegetables and fruits to local food shelters.

Several other projects were guided through the grant process, but as yet have not received funding. AYPI expects the resubmission of many of these projects during this upcoming academic year. For example, Future Doctor’s Society (FDS) and Step One Inc teams prepared excellent Action Plans for their projects.

FDS provides resources to aid young learners gain skills to pursue careers in medicine.

Step One, Inc. creates equitable education opportunities for all students through after-school programs in underfunded schools and focuses on career development and financial literacy.

With the submission of an Action Plan, the Youth Board expects to support these ventures in the near future.

The ‘21-’22 year stands out for several reasons, beyond the submission of these excellent projects. The year started off strong with the Community Foundation’s Spirit of the Community event. AYPI was highlighted during a 3-minute segment and from this we reached a greater spectrum of the community. Another feature was the production of a Family Guide by the Outreach Committee. This produced an easily-digestible summary of AYPI for students and their parents, who are interested in joining the Board, a committee, or submitting a grant. With our outreach efforts, we associated with several local nonprofits such as Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Sustainable Scoop. 

Our most innovative collaboration this year was our Youth Summit on Philanthropy. Here, we heard from local community speakers such as the NAACP Educational Committee Co-Chair, the CEO of Rosie Riveters, the Executive Director of the Washington English Center, the CEO of EcoAction Arlington, and more. From this first-ever Youth Summit on Philanthropy, we examined the importance of youth-led philanthropic endeavors and learned valuable lessons to improve next year’s event. Our summit took place on weekend dates throughout February culminated in an important session with Arlington Community Foundation (ACF) Board Chair Jade Gong and President/CEO Jennifer Owens.

A focal point for the Youth Board has been the adoption of a Strategic Plan, with goals and progress which were revisited at each Board meeting. This plan determined the tasks to be accomplished at the Board and Committee levels and provided for smoother and more efficient progress throughout the year.

Other highlights for the year included an attractive Instagram presence, managed by members of the Outreach Committee. This demonstrated how social media could be better used to spread the word about AYPI. The Outreach Committee posted video introductions of Youth Board members on social media and provided a more personable approach to AYPI. 

The Board developed a “Centers of Influence” list — a resource compilation of organizations and contacts in the Arlington community to encourage youth “change-making” and to solicit grant-making opportunities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fundraising efforts were impacted; however, this year, the Fundraising and Sustainability Committee was able to conduct its first Virtual Dog Showa pet photo contest to raise more money for the Fund for Youth Philanthropy.

Lastly, the Board, through its Outreach Committee, produced the first AYPI Newsletter as a promotional piece to review major events (such as the Youth Summit on Philanthropy) and to update readers on our plans and accomplishments. 

An important goal for the Youth Board this year has been an improved engagement with community leaders. Through this effort, AYPI has developed a useful resource and learned more about the role of each in making Arlington a better place. Primarily, the Youth Board has benefited this year from a more active interest of the ACF Trustees. We thank Krysta Jones and Susan Anderson for their input and attendance at Board meetings. While the Youth Board operates as a youth-directed organization, we believe that adult support can serve a vital part of our success and welcomes further engagement.

Through AYPI I have understood the importance of students becoming involved with philanthropy and growing to be impatient optimists—as youth, we can build a sustainable future, a mission that AYPI constantly strives toward. I am so grateful for my time at AYPI as both a member and Chair and being able to contribute to our goal of nurturing more social leaders within our community.

“Through AYPI I have understood the importance of students becoming involved with philanthropy and growing to be impatient optimists—as youth, we can build a sustainable future, a mission that AYPI constantly strives toward.”

Click here to learn more about AYPI, and click the button below to donate to the Fund for Youth Philanthropy.

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