Our Youth Advisory Council is gearing up for another year of programming and grantmaking in our community. Over the late spring and early summer, our returning members led an in-depth recruitment and interview process to select 8 new members. We’re thrilled to welcome a diverse, engaged, and excited group of 10th and 11th grade students, and look forward to digging into youth empowerment and grantmaking over the course of the school year.

When we wrote a year ago about the start of our 2018-2019 YAC year, we talked about shifting our focus back on youth empowerment and reflected on the launch and purpose of youth philanthropy in Michigan. Our overall goal remains—to empower youth to be changemakers, give them the tangible skills to make sound decisions, become critically aware of some of the issues their peers face, and provide them with platforms to be community advocates. With this, we completed the second installment of our Spark Tank Initiative—this round focused on acts of gratitude and kindness. We also held our first youth arts showcase and continued our journey of self-reflection and youth empowerment.

In looking at our responsive and impact-driven grantmaking, we’ve chosen to focus on the following:

  • Mental & Emotional Well-Being
  • Physical Well-Being
  • Community & Cultural Well-Being

We’re hopeful that these buckets allow our for-impact partners to think differently about how their programs and services impact and empower the youth that they serve. At the core, our work allows us to provide places for youth to interact and engage in meaningful conversations, learn about community issues, and dig in and create change. As always, we rely heavily on the data from the Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey to drive our grantmaking goals and initiatives.

This is important work, and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to serve, engage with, and teach philanthropy to other youth in our community.

Visit to our Youth Advisory Council page to learn more. 


2019 – 2020 YAC Members

12th Grade

Liam Beck
Ben Garretson (Chair)
Jalen Greene
Muskaan Multani
Tess O’Leary
Olivia Perrier
Jackson Schulte
Madelynn Streng (Secretary)
Emma Visker


11th Grade

Coryn French*
Madigan Lautzenheiser*
Sophia Raha*
Ian Rant (Treasurer)
Madison Rogers (Vice Chair)
Oliver Shampine
Lauren Smelker*
Angela Tran*


10th Grade

Ryann Gilchrist*
Aashray Mandala*
Jacob Marcus*

*denotes new member