My Perspective: The Impact of Teens for Tomorrow

The following essay was written by student Ike Sears, a participant in the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend's Teens for Tomorrow Program. In his own words, Ike shares with us a glimpse into the program.

On a warm spring afternoon, a group of philanthropists entered a struggling inner city school to negotiate donations. A new program for teen mothers is requesting funding and the group is taking a tour.

The philanthropists, people who take initiative to help their community, end the tour with some notes and a questionnaire for the head of the new program. They will report back to their foundation and deliberate on how much of their yearly $10,000 to give to this particular applicant.

That particular program did end up getting funded—$2,500.

The foundation granting the money was Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, and the Teens for Tomorrow Program.

I was one of those philanthropists.

And I was just 16 years old.

Teens for Tomorrow, or T4T as we call it, is a youth philanthropy group. A panel of high school students determine how much of T4T's yearly endowment to give to various community nonprofits. Through the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, Teens for Tomorrow receives a yearly budget of $10,000 for grantmaking purposes.

The effects on the community are important—and often dramatic. Because of my work that spring day, teen mothers now have access to a dependable help program at their school.

For years, Teens for Tomorrow has been making an impact on local problems by providing area nonprofits the funds they need to benefit the community. T4T has a twofold impact, however. While it is known for helping the Quad Cities area, the group gives teens, like myself, a voice in the community.

We all have our reasons for discovering T4T, mine being that my sister was a member. The frustrating thing is how difficult it can be for students to hear about T4T. Because of Teens for Tomorrow, I am now aware of issues in the Quad Cities area and am ready and eager to fix them.

So, while Teens for Tomorrow is so very important to area nonprofits, it is invaluable to the teens who get the privilege to be a part of it. Support Teens for Tomorrow and spread the word about our organization.

Applications for our next student cohort will be accepted beginning April 10. Click here for details.

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