Youth Advisory Council

The Community Foundation’s YAC is made up of high school students from all around the area. YAC members meet throughout the year to discuss and assess youth issues prevalent in the community, review grant proposals that benefit youth in the community, and look for opportunities to engage and empower youth in Northwest Ottawa County.

The YAC was established in 1991 thanks to a challenge grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Since then, over 250 students have served on the YAC, and the Youth Fund has generated over $3 million in assets. More importantly, since its inception, the program has had the privilege to grant out about $2.1 million to programs that address relevant, pressing issues that face area youth.

We are a group of high school students that are passionate to learn about our community and invest in programs that will impact and improve the lives of youth. 

YAC’s Mission:  
We aim to set an example for future generations by giving of time, talent, and treasure to actively impact the lives of youth in Northwest Ottawa County.  

YAC’s Vision:  
A community where all youth have the resources and opportunities available, allowing them to be successful.  

YAC’s Values:  
Empathy – to understand the needs of the youth in our community 
Integrity – in making equitable decisions for the youth of our community  
Collaboration – through innovation and teamwork 
Open-mindedness – through a passionate and diverse group of youth representation

YAC Membership

Applications for the 2024-2025 school year are now closed. Check back next year!

Membership Duties & Responsibilities

Members of the GHACF YAC have the opportunity to make real change in our community by awarding grants to projects they feel are worthy of funding. This is a leadership position in Northwest Ottawa County, and that means each member is held accountable for certain duties and responsibilities. They include:

  • Attend a minimum of 8 monthly meetings per school year (on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM) and teambuilding events held at various times throughout the summer. If unable to attend, contact the advisor 24 hours prior to the meeting.
  • Committed, dedicated interest in learning about community youth issues through a variety of channels: collaboration, discussion, guest speakers, site visits, and possible regional meetings with other YACs in the State of Michigan.
  • Preparation for meetings, which can include reading multiple pages of grants.
  • Evaluation of all funding requests in a fair and equitable manner that reflects the Foundation’s mission and state grant criteria.

Meg Bouman

Abby Reeg

For questions about the Youth Advisory Council, contact  Meg Bouman or Abby Reeg.

What does it mean to be a member of YAC?

Serving on the Youth Advisory Council is a great privilege for students, but your hard work also has a positive effect on our community, allowing you to make decisions to create opportunities for your peers today and tomorrow.

By serving on the YAC, members gain:

  • Important decision-making skills
  • Understanding of how to work in a group to award grants that benefit youth in our community.
  • Leadership experience, and the opportunity to participate in a state-wide youth leadership conference that focuses on philanthropy and service.
  • Knowledge and greater understanding of the needs of youth just like you in the community.
  • Perspective on the tougher issues facing many youth in Northwest Ottawa County.

My favorite part of YAC is the mindset of the group. It is a place that encourages deep and prospective thinking beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. YAC allows those with a passion for looking for meaningfulness and a deeper experience to flourish and grow in their understanding.

Matt Marcus

YAC Member

The ability to get to know and work with all of the other incredible leaders on the council is a wonderful opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together to further improve the community!

Jalen Green

YAC Member

By providing a platform that where youth can make a difference, YAC allows us to give back to our the community in ways that weren’t possible before.

Ben Garretson

YAC Member