Community Foundation launches $10,000 Youth Giving Challenge

WATERTOWN, NY — The Northern New York Community Foundation’s 2020-2021 Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge is now open to students. The challenge seeks to engage seventh and eighth graders in learning about their communities while they compete for an opportunity to award a $500 grant to a local nonprofit organization of their choice.

This is the fourth year of the program, which is made possible by donors to the Community Foundation’s Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund and a major gift from an individual donor.

Students presently attending 7th and 8th grades in Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence counties are eligible to compete for a share of $10,000 in total grant awards. Twenty students will be selected to each present a $500 grant to a charitable organization of their choice. The initiative aims to have students explore their view of “community” and select a charitable organization for a grant award that makes their community a great place to live. To enter in the competition, students must complete an essay-based application in writing.

“Ongoing efforts to create a greater sense of community and civic pride through all generations is vitally important. The North Country has a great tradition of thoughtful citizenship and this is one way we can reinforce its meaning,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “The community the next generation will inherit is something we must continue to work to improve. We hope this program will inspire students to be more intentional about how they can have a voice in shaping that future.”

In its first three years, 63 students have been selected to present 59 grants totaling $30,000 to 51 different nonprofit organizations that serve tri-county residents.

Applications are available online at, at local schools, or at the Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown. Students selected to award grants in previous years are not eligible to enter.

Entries must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Community Foundation no later than Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. A grant review committee will judge all entries and determine 20 winning students to present grant awards. Eligible recipient organizations must be a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence counties.

An announcement of the winning submissions and grant awards will be made in early January after the holiday break. A Community Foundation representative will then contact winning students to schedule them to personally visit their chosen organization, learn more about their work and mission, and present their grant award. Contact Kraig Everard, Community Foundation director of stewardship and programs, 315-782-7110, or, to learn more about the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge.

About the Northern New York Community Foundation

Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.

The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.