(YAC) Advisor Toolkit - Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Youth Advisory
Committee (YAC)
Advisor Toolkit
For Community Funds of the
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
This Toolkit contains most of what you should need to help your Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) to be successful. You will find narrative information on
everything from the role of your YAC within the Community Foundation to tips
for running meetings. In addition, the Toolkit contains sample documents that
are available for download from www.grfoundtion.org.
Identifies documents that are inserted into the related section of this Toolkit.
Each of these items can be downloaded from www.grfoundation.org. Sample
documents included in this toolkit that are intended to be used as templates
will download in Microsoft Word format; informational documents will
download in .pdf format.
History of the Michigan Community Foundations Youth Project
Why YAC? What makes a YAC unique
Maintaining an independent YAC in your local community
Your role as YAC Advisor and the role of the Grand Rapids Community
Foundation Youth Program Officer
YAC Annual Tasks and Responsibilities
Words and Phrases used with YACs
YAC Best Practices: What are they and what purpose do they serve?
Best Practices supporting materials
Overview of Best Practices
Track Your YAC! Assessment
Best Practices Manual
Best Practice 1: Meetings
Meeting frequency, schedules, length, committee structure/leadership,
what happens at a meeting, meeting food and expenses
Agenda with Calendar
Treasurer’s Report and Budget Form
Meeting Reminder
Best Practice 2: Membership
How many members, attendance, diversity, recruitment
Membership Application Form
Information, Waiver, and Release of Liability Form
Best Practice 3: Advisors
Number of advisors, the advisor role, do’s and don’ts
Best Practice 4: Training
Council of Michigan Foundation offerings, orientation, facilitation
YAC 101 Agenda—Orientation and Planning Session
Grantmaking Simulation Activity
Best Practice 5: Needs Assessment
Needs Assessment Survey
Needs Assessment Principal Request Letter
Best Practice 6: Grantmaking (RFP, proactive grantmaking, promoting
the RFP, grant review process, agency meetings/site visits, approval from
Board of Trustees, public announcement of grants, payment procedures)
RFP-Request for Proposals
Grant Review Instructions
Conflict of Interest Disclosure Sheet
Grant Screening Tool
Press Release-RFP availability
Press Release-Grant Announcement
Best Practice 7: Grant Effectiveness
Progress Report Review form
Best Practice 8: Volunteerism and Community Service
Best Practice 9: Fund Development
Fund Development Prospect Information Form
Fund Development Letter
Best Practice 10: Youth Representation on the Board of Trustees
Best Practice 11: YAC Interaction with the Board
Certificate of Recognition
Best Practice 12: YAC Recognition
Brochure-tri-fold style
Brochure-newsletter style
Best Practice 13: Self-assessment
Year-end Evaluation
Track Your YAC! Best Practices Assessment
© 2006 Grand Rapids Community Foundation
These materials may be reproduced for educational, non-commercial use only
by person(s) serving on behalf of Community Funds of the Grand Rapids
Community Foundation.
History of the Michigan Community Foundations
Youth Project
As an Advisor to a Youth Advisory Committee, you have a chance to make a big
impact on a group of youth, on your community and on generations to come,
who will benefit from your guiding hand.
Let’s start with a bit of background so you understand the context of your work.
Beginning in 1988, the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) and the W.K.
Kellogg Foundation engaged in an effort to:
• grow community foundations in the state of Michigan
• get young people involved in philanthropy and volunteerism, and
• establish a permanent source of funding to meet youth needs.
The result of that collaborative effort was the Kellogg Challenge. For every two
dollars raised by a community foundation for its permanent endowment, the
Kellogg Foundation would match it with one dollar for a permanently endowed
Youth Fund. Funding recommendations for grants made from this Youth Fund
were to be made by young people from the community; these became known as
Youth Advisory Committees, or YACs. The youth involved are referred to as
YACers. The Kellogg Challenge took place between 1991 and 1996 and was
administered by the Council of Michigan Foundations.
With additional funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, CMF
established the Michigan Community Foundations Youth Project (MCFYP) to
carry out the Kellogg Challenge. Although funding through the Kellogg
Challenge is no longer available, MCFYP remains an active component of CMF
and lives on in YACs across the state.
At the outset, MCFYP had four main goals for YACs. More than a decade later,
these four goals still describe what you’ll be helping your YAC to do:
1. Assess youth needs and priorities: YACs identify key issues and priorities for
youth in the community.
2. Make grants: Using knowledge of youth needs and priorities, YACs make
funding recommendations for distributing grant funds from the endowed
Youth Fund.
3. Fund development: YACers raise funds to increase the endowed Youth Fund.
4. Involve others in leadership, volunteerism and philanthropy: As appropriate
in each community, YACs advocate for local youth, promote positive youth
action or do community service.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
You can be sure you’re stepping into a model that works. Just look at what’s
happened so far. The Kellogg Challenge was tremendously successful. The
Kellogg Challenge and Michigan Community Foundations Youth Project
(MCFYP) yielded many results.
• Leaders created 62 new community foundations.
• Seventy-nine of Michigan’s 83 counties now have a community foundation.
• The projects leveraged over $100 million for endowments.
• Total assets now exceed $1.5 billion.
• Michigan has 86 of the nation’s approximately 300 YACs.
• Over $3.7 million in grants have been awarded.
• Over 8,000 youth have been involved and 3,500 grants awarded.
The Council of Michigan Foundations and the MCFYP Committee still have a
role in YACs across the state. Since the Kellogg Challenge has ended, MCFYP
insures compliance with Kellogg’s intent. You and your YACers can count on
MCFYP training and technical support through fall regional trainings, January
advisor conference calls and a June leadership conference at Eastern Michigan
Each fall CMF surveys YACs to track compliance and progress. CMF appoints
advisors to the MCFYP Steering Committee, composed of three advisors and six
YACers from across the state, with staff support from CMF. This steering
committee makes training recommendations, leads training and explores
collaborative opportunities for YACs. It did the last major revision of YAC Best
Practices in 2004. Each fall youth may apply to serve on the committee.
For more information on MCFYP, training opportunities, downloads, and
updates on YACs statewide, please visit www.youthgrantmakers.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Why YAC? What makes a YAC unique
At the core of the YAC experience is youth self-determination. High school
students are just beginning to make important decisions independently. They
have very limited experience in calling the shots in their own lives. A whole new
world is opening up to them, and the opportunities are seemingly endless. They
are stretching their wings for the first time…but they are inexperienced. They
don’t quite know what they need to do to be successful. They are bound to make
mistakes, and they won’t make the same choices that a group of people in their
40s might make. But that’s what YAC is about—giving young people an
opportunity to experience giving, so they will know how to do it for the rest of
their lives.
The YAC is an opportunity for young people to decide—collectively with their
peers—about how to give away someone else’s money to do the greatest good.
That’s pretty heady stuff for kids who likely don’t even have a driver’s license. For
these young people, YAC may be their first lesson in authentic youth leadership,
working with peers as a team, making decisions, building consensus or showing
empathy and awareness for others. YAC also helps them learn to prioritize,
budget, think critically and follow committee processes.
Participating in a YAC can be a truly powerful, life-changing experience for these
young people. The main job for you and other Advisors is to do all you can to
insure that the youth have a positive experience. The YAC is a committee of the
Community Fund Board of Trustees; the Board is ultimately accountable for
the YAC, but should allow it to function with a high degree of autonomy. It is a
delicate relationship that requires trust on both sides. Youth need to trust that
they’ve been given the tools they need and that someone’s there to keep them
from complete failure. Adults need to trust that youth have the very best
intentions, and they will use and respect the resources they’ve been given to the
best of their ability.
Best Practices, Board Trustees and the Advisors are responsible for providing
YACers with stability, consistency/institutional memory, tools to help YACers
figure it out on their own, a sense of structure and regular reminders of purpose/
parameters. Advisors also need to give YACers freedom to do things in their own
way within those parameters. If your YACers make a mistake or two along the
way, then you can help them reflect on what happened and recognize
opportunities to make necessary changes. When they are successful, you’ll be
cheering loudest and longest.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Maintaining an independent YAC in your local
As a requirement of having a YAC, the Board of the Community Fund assumes
primary responsibility for assuring that the YAC continuously works toward the
achievement of Best Practices. To maintain an independent YAC in the
community, the YAC and Board must demonstrate achievement of nine of the
13 Best Practices each year.
If the Board of the Community Fund determines that they are unable to meet at
least nine Best Practices, the YAC will be dissolved. Income available from the
Youth Fund will be distributed to the designated community by the Grand
Rapids Community Foundation through the Youth Grant Committee. The
Youth Grant Committee will offer membership to at least one youth from the
designated community. To be considered for membership, youth must
participate in the regular Youth Grant Committee application process. Youth
Grant Committee Membership Applications are available in April of each year
and are due on June 1.
But don’t worry! This Toolkit will give you what you need to demonstrate your
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Your role as YAC Advisor and the role of the GRCF
Youth Program Officer
The Community Fund Board should assign two adults to serve as YAC Advisors.
At least one must be a Component Fund Board Member. Besides using all the
information in this Toolkit, you may also phone or email the Youth Program
Officer at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation for technical assistance.
Plan on seeing the Youth Program Officer at two of your grantmaking meetings
and one other meeting each year.
A detailed list of responsibilities, YAC Advisor Roles and Expectations ( ), can be
found on page six. A breakdown of responsibilities by calendar year, you can
refer to the Annual Tasks and Responsibilities ( ) is listed on page seven. In
short, the YAC Advisor is responsible for overseeing the YAC. The Grand Rapids
Community Foundation Youth Program Officer is responsible for overseeing the
processing of grants and providing technical assistance to the YAC as needed.
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation Youth Program Officer, Cris Kooyer,
can be reached at 454-1751, ext. 118 or by email at ckooyer@grfoundation.org.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
The Community Fund YAC Advisor(s) Responsibilities
Be familiar with YAC Best Practices
Attend all Youth Advisory Committee meetings (minimum of seven per year).
Recruit core group of youth, and assist them in recruiting additional youth for a minimum of 12
Secure meeting location and make meeting arrangements as needed
Assist YAC members as they work to achieve YAC Best Practices, including:
• Recruiting and retaining members
• Annual training for new and continuing members
• Conducting needs assessment every two years
• Engaging in a grant-making process (including development of the RFP, promoting
availability of the RFP, reviewing grant requests, developing recommendations, and
presenting to the Board)
• Annually evaluating effectiveness of grants awarded
• Engaging in community service activities
• Developing and implementing fund development activities
• Annually evaluating committee progress towards Best Practices
Facilitate relationship between YAC and Board of Trustees and serve as liaison to Board of
Trustees, including:
• Facilitating the appointment of a Youth Trustee
• Providing support to the Youth Trustee
• Encouraging opportunities for interaction between Board and YAC members
• Promoting the activities of the YAC in communications
Serve as advisor and mentor to the students on the committee
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation Staff Responsibilities
Be available by phone or email to provide technical assistance and support to the Community
Foundation Board of Trustees or Youth Advisory Committee Advisor.
Attend a maximum of one YAC meeting per year to provide technical support and training to
the YAC. In particular, assistance is available to the YAC in:
• Understanding of philanthropy, foundations, and role of YAC
• Developing annual goals, objectives, and calendar
• Ice breakers and how to run a meeting
• Conducting a needs assessment/asset inventory
• Developing and defining committee structure and leadership
• Grant-making process, including development and distribution of RFP and grant review
• Creating a Fund Development plan
Attend a maximum of two grant review meetings
Provide grant related services, including:
• Posting grant application on website six weeks prior to submission deadline date
• Serving as collection point for grant applications
• Providing copies of submitted grant applications to committee members
• Providing review of grant applications to ensure project meets IRS Code regulations
• Presenting grant recommendation to GRCF Trustees for final approval
• Sending official award/denial notification including contracts
• Processing grant payments
• Collecting progress reports and forwarding to YAC Advisor
• Reporting outstanding progress reports to YAC Advisor
• Maintaining a database that will support each of the above functions
Provide financial management of the fund.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
YAC Annual Tasks and Responsibilities
Responsibility of:
Recruitment of youth members
Orientation of new members
Income available to YAC communicated to Advisor
Planning YAC activities for the year; calendar
YAC member(s) attend CMF’s Fall Regional Training
Conduct Needs assessment every other year
Progress report reminder mailed (due 12/31)
Develop/Revise Request for Proposals (RFP)
RFP to GRCF for posting on web
RFP posted on web
RFP press release
Progress reports received and entered into GRCF
Progress reports shared with YAC
Proposals received; entered into GRCF database
Chart of grant requests and proposals distributed
to YAC
YAC reviews proposals
YAC coordinates and conducts agency meetings,
site visits, phone calls to develop final
YAC presents recommendations to adult board
List of approved grants submitted to GRCF
Recommendations approved by GRCF President
Recommendations to GRCF Board
Approved/Denied letters and grant contracts sent
April and
Grant announcement press release
Contracts, check requests received; entered into
Checks processed and mailed to grantees upon
receipt of contract and request for payment
Check presentations to grantees
YAC member attends Youth Grantmakers Summer
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Words and phrases used with YACs
As with any field, philanthropy has a lingo all its own. YAC members and YAC
Advisors will come across a variety of acronyms and phrases. You may be
familiar with some, and unfamiliar with others:
501(c)(3): Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code for a nonprofit or charitable
organization. You may only give grants to organizations with this tax
status…not to individuals or for-profit businesses.
Agency Meeting: Your committee members meet with representatives from an
organization that seeks a grant. The purpose of an Agency Meeting is to learn
more about the proposed program or project.
Apple Tree analogy: A metaphor for how a foundation works. The apple tree is
like the endowment; it starts small and grows over time. Each year, the apple
tree bears fruit, like an endowment generates income. Grantmakers distribute
the income (apples) in the form of grants, but never tap into the endowment
(cut down the tree), instead allowing it to grow and bear fruit for years to
BOT: Board of Trustees (also called the adult board), oversees all aspects of the
Community Foundation.
CMF: Council of Michigan Foundations. A statewide organization that supports
foundations and provides training for YACers across Michigan.
Community Foundation: A tax-exempt public charity created by and for the
people in a local area. The Community Foundation accepts monetary
donations from residents in a particular community and endows (or saves) it;
then takes the earnings (from interest, dividends, etc.) from that “community
savings account” and makes grants to nonprofit organizations within the
community. Michigan has 86 community foundations, more than any other
Endowment: The money that is donated to the Community Foundation, saved
and invested. Only a portion of endowment earnings are granted, so the
endowment keeps growing.
MCFYP: Michigan Community Foundations Youth Project. When the Kellogg
Foundation helped YACs get started, this is the name they gave the project.
Needs Assessment: To survey or analyze youth needs in the community.
Nonprofit organization: An organization that exists for a charitable purpose. To
receive grants, it must have obtained a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.
Philanthropy: Giving of time, talent or treasure for the common good.
RFP: When nonprofit/charitable groups request a grant, they use a Request for
Proposals, another name for a grant application.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Site Visit: Committee members visit an organization to learn more about a
program or project being considered for funding, or to observe or evaluate a
program or project that has already been funded.
Spending Rule: To account for fluctuations in the stock market, five percent of
the four-year average value of an endowed fund is the maximum available for
YAC: Youth Advisory Committee. All 86 community foundations in Michigan
have a YAC.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
YAC Best Practices: What are they and what
purpose do they serve?
While the four goals initially defined by the Kellogg Foundation really describe
what YACs do, the Best Practices describe how YACs should do it. The 13 Best
Practices address issues from recruitment and meeting frequency to the
relationship between the Board and YAC.
YAC Best Practices provide a common language, framework and set of
benchmarks to gauge levels of achievement for YACs statewide. If your YAC is
new, you’ll get direction from Best Practices. If your YAC is well-established,
then Best Practices can help your YACers evaluate and improve performance.
Ideally, Best Practices should be used as a tool to regularly engage YACers in
identifying strengths as well as opportunities for growth. All YACs should aspire
and work continuously toward achieving all 13 Best Practices.
Best Practices, however, are not just for YACers. Board Trustees also have a
significant role in meeting these standards. Several Best Practices speak to the
relationship between YAC members and the Board. Best Practices can be used to
spark dialogue between the Board and YAC members, leading to even greater
engagement between youth and adults.
Best Practices are established by the Michigan Community Foundations Youth
Project (MCFYP) Steering Committee. They were revised in 2004. At that time
the MCFYP Committee also developed supplemental materials so YACers, YAC
Advisors and Trustees would better understand Best Practices and help improve
YAC progress.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practices supporting materials
The attached documents will help you, as an Advisor, engage your YACers with
Best Practices. You can use these tools individually or as part of a longer exercise.
Each of these documents are available for download at
Overview of Best Practices ( ) is a one-page sheet listing the 13 Best Practices.
Track Your YAC! ( ) is an interactive quiz to help YAC members assess their
progress towards Best Practices. They can do it individually, but it’s sometimes
even better when the group works through the quiz together, especially for fall
planning and yearend evaluation. After you identify areas for improvement, turn
to the Best Practice Manual for action suggestions.
Best Practice Manual ( ) explains why each Best Practice is a good idea and
gives strategies for achieving it. YACers get the most out of the Manual after
they’ve completed a Track Your YAC assessment.
Think of these Best Practices as your map. Almost everything you’ll do as a YAC
Advisor relates back in some way to a Best Practice. Maintaining an independent
YAC requires you to achieve at least 9 of 13 Best Practices. The rest of this
Toolkit will give you detailed suggestions to meet—and exceed—that standard.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 1: Meetings
The YAC meets a minimum of seven times per year.
Meeting frequency: Meeting monthly during the school year is recommended.
This allows your YAC to meet Best Practices, develop relationships and have
ample time to complete its work. Conducting an annual planning session (either
at yearend or in the beginning of the year) creates common expectations and
helps create a sense of purpose.
Meeting schedule: As much as possible, YAC members should determine their
own meeting schedule. Identifying the preferred time, dates and locations for
YAC meetings can be challenging. You need to find a balance between flexibility
and consistency. Some YACs meet during the school day, others in the evenings
or on weekends. They may meet in school, at an office or in a library. Consider
transportation issues, the ability to miss school and accessibility.
Meeting length: YAC meetings of 90 minutes are recommended, particularly if
meetings are held once each month. Expect some time at the beginning of the
meeting for socializing. Although this may feel irritating if you’re time conscious,
it is natural for teens and will help your YACers work together.
Committee structure and leadership: YACs are youth-led, with the Advisor
providing assistance and guidance, but staying in the background as much as
possible. You might consider sitting outside the circle or away from the table to
signal that you are there to assist, not lead.
At a minimum, your YAC should have two Co-chairs and a Secretary/Treasurer,
but might choose more leaders with defined roles:
Co-chairs (2): Runs meetings and make sure everyone gets their jobs done. Cochairs are available to respond to issues as they come up.
Secretary: Takes minutes, types them, and brings them to the next meeting.
Treasurer/Fund Development: Presents a report at each meeting, helps put
together the budget, keeps track of and reports on what the committee is
doing in fund development.
Adult Board Trustee: This person will be referred to the adult board to be
selected as a full voting member on the Board of Trustees. This person must
be at least 16 years old.
Volunteer/Social Activity Coordinator: Organizes volunteer activities and social
activities for the year.
Historian/Promotion: Takes pictures and updates YAC brochures.
New Member Mentor: Helps new YAC members feel welcome, answers their
questions, helps coordinate their orientation and recruit new members.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Election of officers: Officers may be elected at either the beginning or end of the
year (to serve in the year). Both have advantages. For a YAC with stable
membership that includes YAC members who have some history serving on the
YAC, electing officers in the spring allows seniors (who have worked with these
YAC members) to have input into deciding who continues to lead the group.
This method lets the group start the year with leadership established. For a newer
YAC with less stable membership, electing officers in the fall allows the newly
formed group to establish their own leadership, thus taking some ownership of
the group.
Subcommittees: If the YAC is of sufficient size and has multiple tasks, members
may establish subcommittees. A subcommittee should have no fewer than three
members. It is not recommended that grantmaking be delegated to a
subcommittee; this is a task that the full YAC should engage in.
What happens at a YAC meeting? YAC members should determine the scope of
their meetings. A planning meeting early in the year is highly recommended. A
planning meeting gives YACers an essential sense of ownership and direction for
the year. Still, you’ll want to remember that few young people have much
experience in running a meeting or following committee process. You, as a YAC
Advisor, can provide a structure for YACers to fill in, such as a skeleton agenda,
empty calendar or steps of a planning process. Your institutional memory will
help YAC members when they get stuck. You might suggest, “How about taking
a look at what you came up with in your planning meeting?” or “It might help to
look at which areas you identified in your needs assessment.”
Agenda with Calendar Template ( ): This sample document contains the
barebones items to include on an agenda. Referencing the four YAC goals helps
reinforce the group’s purpose and remind members of what they need to
accomplish. If one of the four goals is complete (such as needs assessment), keep
it on the agenda, but note “complete” after it, perhaps adding the significant
findings. Asking “What’s on next month’s agenda?” as each meeting ends helps
focus the group on what’s next. It also gives you a way to ask questions, raise
issues or identify specific tasks that must be completed before the next meeting.
At the beginning of the year, filling in a blank calendar is a useful way to
complete a planning process. People have different learning styles, and the
calendar will bring things together for visual learners. Including the calendar on
the agenda helps YAC members stay focused and on track.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Treasurer’s Report and Budget Form Template ( ): The GRCF Youth Program
Officer can give you an estimate of the amount your YAC has available for
grantmaking each year. Each year Advisors and YACs should review the balance
of the endowed Youth Fund, where it came from, the Spending Rule, fees
assessed and total income available. The YAC may use this information to
establish their own budget.
Meeting reminders: Like adults, young people need meeting reminders. A
reminder such as the Meeting Reminder Template ( ) can be mailed, emailed or
announced at school. Many young people use planners, so you might remind
them to put in YAC meetings. You can reference previous assignments in a
meeting reminder, such as “Bring names for Fund Development” or “Lisa will
bring info on the volunteer activity.”
Meeting food: Food is a must at YAC meetings. Even if the meeting is not held
during a mealtime, a snack or treat is a welcome distraction. (One YAC’s favorite
treat is Tootsie Pops; the Co-chairs believe sucking on candy reduces sideline
conversations.) For meetings held over the lunch (which can begin as early as
10:30 a.m. for some high schoolers) or dinner hour, a meal should be provided.
Pizza is truly the way to go. Nothing’s cheaper and YACers enjoy it. Little
Caesar’s, Hungry Howie’s, Domino’s and Papa John’s all offer plain or pepperoni
pizzas for about $5 each. They also deliver and take a credit card. Plan on one
large pizza for every four youth at a minimum. Some pizza places will donate
pizza, so YAC members may consider requesting a donation. If food is served,
plan to provide plates, napkins and drinks. You might buy paper supplies at the
beginning of the year and keep them at the meeting location.
Meeting and committee expenses: Expect that the YAC will incur some costs
throughout the year. As part of planning for their year, the YAC should develop a
budget. Budget items may include meeting food, mailing costs, copies,
registration fees for training, T-shirts and mileage. Some expenses may be
covered by in-kind services or donations. The Board or the YAC itself is also
permitted to award a grant to cover YAC program expenses.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 2: Membership
The YAC has a minimum of 12 members, ages 12 through
21, who are reflective of the many forms of diversity found
in the local youth community.
How many members? A minimum of 12 members allows for diversity, while any
more than 30 grows cumbersome. With too many members, YACers are also less
likely to get to know one another well enough to benefit socially or feel
comfortable to freely exchange ideas. A group with fewer than 12, however, can
Attendance issues: You’ll find that if the YAC is fun and rewarding, and if
YACers develop their own meeting schedule, attendance should take care of
itself. YAC members may opt to develop their own attendance requirement,
which they should also enforce on their own. Some flexibility is required, such as
dictated by sports schedules or class attendance.
Diversity: Diversity is actually the critical element in this Best Practice. Although
most young people think of diversity exclusively in terms of race or ethnicity, you
should encourage them to think more broadly. For an Advisor who seeks to take
a backseat, this can be a difficult conversation to begin. Here are some
suggestions for starting this discussion. (You might ask a YACer to take notes on
a flip chart or board):
• Remind YACers of this particular Best Practice when they discuss
recruitment. Read it aloud in its entirety, emphasizing the second clause.
• Ask YACers how they would define diversity and why it matters in their role
as grantmakers.
• Ask YACers to identify the forms of diversity found in their community. Give
examples to get them started, such as drama club members, athletes or those
attending alternative schools.
• Create a diversity spreadsheet. On one axis list current YACers. On the other
axis list the forms of identity they just mentioned. By checking off the various
forms of diversity already represented on the YAC, the YACers should see the
“holes” that they might look to fill. For example:
In band
Alternative Ed
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Recruiting new members: The activities above may reveal particular target
populations for recruitment. Generally, recruitment strategies may include:
• making presentations at classes or assemblies, including alternative education
programs, middle schools, freshman orientation and after school programs.
• soliciting new members through previous grant recipients.
• writing or suggesting articles in school media or local newspapers.
• asking departing/graduating YAC members to identify new members.
Advantages to being on YAC: When promoting the YAC to potential new
members, remind them that time spent on YAC:
• Counts towards community service requirements they might need to
• Looks great on a college application.
• Provides an opportunity to learn about the community and give back.
• Is a great way to meet new people.
Membership Application Form Template ( ): If the YAC is becoming too large
(or less committed) with a more open membership process, consider going to a
membership application. This allows YAC members to be more deliberate as
they select new members. This process works best when applications are due in
early summer, so members have plenty of time to review and select new
members. This plan also allows time for more recruiting (if necessary) before the
fall program year begins.
Information, Waiver, and Release of Liability Form ( ): Advisors should have
a signed copy of the Information, Waiver, and Release of Liability Form on file for
each YAC member. This protects the Community Foundation and also serves as
a media release.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 3: Advisors
The YAC has two trained Advisors who are knowledgeable
and supportive of youth development and youth leadership.
Why two? You can probably guess why having two advisors offers safety and
convenience. One adult alone with young people is potentially problematic. You,
as a YAC Advisor, should always avoid being alone with one or two youth to
avoid allegations of impropriety. Also, working with another Advisor allows
greater flexibility in scheduling, shares the load and increases the chances for a
good fit with more YACers. After all, why do it all alone? Everyone has strengths
and weaknesses, and having two Advisors increases the odds that the YAC will
have access to all the resources it needs.
Reminder of the Advisor’s role: The second element in this Best Practice has to
do with the role of the Advisor. Your role is to:
• Provide stability, consistency/institutional memory, tools to help YACers
figure it out on their own, a sense of structure and regular reminders of
• Give YAC members the freedom to do things in their own way within those
• Help them to reflect on mistakes/challenges and recognize opportunities to
make necessary changes.
• Be YACers’ biggest cheerleaders.
Support from www.youthgrantmakers.org: You’ll find the MCFYP website a
great resource, with sample documents, links to helpful websites, info on training
opportunities and stories about other YACs. It also includes downloads of the
Best Practices documents referenced previously.
The next page lists a number of Advisor Do’s and Don’ts.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Be clear and concise about what they are to accomplish
while letting them know they decide how to get there.
Keep them guessing with too little
info, or make it really complicated.
Provide food and drink.
Let them starve.
Let them have fun.
Squelch their socializing.
Stay in the background, but be there when the YAC needs
Sit front and center, take charge immediately.
Be okay with silence.
Jump in with your own suggestion as
soon as no one says anything.
Be a resource and a role model: help them figure it out for
themselves, share insights/what they need to think about,
provide information they might not know, help them get
unstuck, correct misinformation and gently nudge parliamentary procedure when appropriate.
Tell them what to do and how to do it,
correct everything they do and expect that they behave as adults
If you need to interject, say, “You might want to think
about…” or “Remember that Best Practices call for…” and
follow up with “…but you need to decide what you want to
do as a group.”
Make your personal opinions very
clear—especially about grants.
If they are at an impasse, say “What I’m hearing is…” or
“Would it help to get some of this down on the board/flip
chart?” or “You seem stuck. Would you like me to help you
figure out how to get unstuck?”
If they are at an impasse, say,
“Here’s what you need to do…”
If they are headed for trouble, point out specific pitfalls that
you see (“Have you considered what happens if xyz?”) or
help them to avoid the pitfalls by helping them to define
steps more clearly (“I’m concerned about xyz, can you help
me with that?” or “When the YAC tried this two years ago, it
didn’t work because of xyz, and I don’t want you to go
down the same road. What are your ideas for avoiding that
same problem?”)
Let them know what to expect in new situations, such as
presenting to the adult board or what the summer conference will be like.
If they are headed for trouble, say
nothing and let them fail, or say, “This
will never work. What a terrible idea.”
Remind them about rules/parameters/boundaries so they
don’t cross them: Best Practices, four goals, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and role of the adult board.
Provide no guidance.
Model respect and encourage active participation by all
Let them exclude someone or be
hurtful to one another, single members out, push members to speak or
take on roles they do not want.
Help/encourage them to reflect on their process, on
grants they’ve awarded and on experiences they’ve shared
as a group.
Ignore institutional memory.
Be accepting of new ideas.
Shoot them down.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Throw them into new situations with
no preparation.
Best Practice 4: Training
The YAC holds an annual orientation for all new members
and encourages all members to participate in training
opportunities that will strengthen their skills in philanthropy.
As with any group or activity, getting off to a good start sets the tempo for the
YAC year. Taking time at the first meeting to introduce new members and to
review important concepts is critical. Ideally, more experienced YAC members
can lead the overview and conduct a grant simulation. Just as important is
allowing the group to establish their own “culture,” a place where they feel safe,
welcome and empowered.
Through CMF, MCFYP offers the following training opportunities:
• Fall Regional Training . Typically divided into tracks for experienced and new
YACers, Regional Training usually lasts from about 9:00 a.m. to about 2:00
p.m. and is held in multiple locations around the state. The new YACer track
includes a detailed overview of YACs, Best Practices and a grant simulation.
The experienced YACer track content varies from year to year.
• Summer Leadership Conference . Held each June at a campus location, this
conference involves approximately 150 youth grantmakers and runs from
Friday to Sunday. The agenda is packed with highly interactive activities that
vary each year. YACers who attend once almost always opt to return.
• Advisor Conference Calls are also scheduled each January.
Orientation agenda: Two sample agendas are included in this Toolkit. In this
example, experienced YACers lead an orientation for new members, followed by
a grantmaking simulation.
• YAC 101 Agenda—Orientation and Planning ( )
• Grantmaking Simulation Activity ( )
Icebreakers: Icebreakers or warm-ups can be very beneficial in creating a
positive, welcoming culture among YAC members. Some YACs spend an entire
meeting at the beginning of the year exclusively on icebreakers and team building
activities. Sites with sample icebreakers are found on
Facilitation/Planning Process: Outlined below is an easy technique for a
planning session that can be led by the Advisor, or preferably, by a YACer who
has been briefed on the technique. This technique can be used at the first or
second meeting of the year to plan the year’s activities or throughout the year as
needed to plan a project or simply generate ideas.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Nominal Group Process Technique
• To generate ideas, prioritize, and plan
1. Brain writing: For this illustration, YAC members will consider the question,
“What do you want the YAC to do this year?”
• Break up into small groups of no more than four. Each group should
have one piece of paper.
• Present the question they are going to answer: “What do you want the
YAC to do this year?” Give a few examples, such as do a needs
assessment survey, give out grants and do a site visit.
• Instruct them to pass the sheet of paper from one person to the next in
their group. Each person must write an answer to the question, without
repeating any of the answers given previously.
• Give the groups three minutes. Consider announcing a prize for the most
2. Prioritizing
• Once each group has come up with their list of ideas, ask them to
choose the top five or so answers from their list and write them on
sticky notes.
• Have each group present their top five sticky notes to the rest of the
group. Put each sticky note up on the wall…if there are duplicates, they
can stick together. Now you have your YAC’s list of things to do this
• If this list of tasks needs to be narrowed down further, ask each person
to put a check next to their top three. Those with the least number of
checks can be dropped off.
3. Timeline
• On a large sheet(s) of newsprint, draw a timeline with each month that
the YAC will meet for the year. Ask the YACers to stick the notes (from
the Prioritizing step above) on an appropriate place on the timeline.
• This information should be copied down and entered on the sample
calendar (attached).
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Sticky Note Planning Technique
• To determine specific steps to complete a task
This technique is especially effective when YACers have a task or project before
them and need to figure out the various steps required to successfully
accomplish it.
1. Give each individual YACer a stack of sticky notes and a pen.
2. Ask them to think of every task that might be needed to accomplish the
project, big and small.
3. In an allotted amount of time, maybe two minutes, ask them to write down
every single task that will need to be done in order to accomplish the
project: one task per sticky note. For example, one sticky note might say
“order invitations,” another “address invitations” and another “mail
4. Once time is called, the sticky notes are collected. Duplicates are put
5. Put a big timeline up on the wall. Place the sticky notes on the timeline.
There’s the plan for carrying out the project!
These techniques (or variations you come up with) can also be used in with new YACers
at an orientation meeting. Conduct the brain writing exercise/nominal group process
using the question, “What do you hope to learn today?” Put those sticky notes on the
wall. At the conclusion of the orientation, the facilitator can review the notes to make
sure everything has been covered.
Helpful hints for facilitating:
These techniques can be modified for all sizes of groups. For very small groups, have
them do the brain writing/prioritizing process individually.
• The time allowed for brain writing can be shortened or lengthened as needed. If the
time allotted feels a little too short, that’s good. They should feel some pressure.
• The number of sticky notes (for top choices) can also be varied depending on the
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 5: Needs Assessment
The YAC assesses critical issues of area youth at least
every three years.
Conducting a needs assessment was one of the four goals of the Kellogg
Challenge. The information gathered should be used in some way to direct YAC
activities, such as grantmaking, community service projects and so on. Assessing
issues every three years (two years is recommended) allows nearly every YACer—
regardless of when they began serving on the YAC—an opportunity to
participate in this process. Not only is it informative, but going through this
process together builds group cohesiveness. The two most commonly used
methods for assessing youth issues are surveys and focus groups.
Surveys: This is the easiest and quickest method. The Needs Assessment Survey
Sample Template ( ) provided with this Toolkit was successfully field tested
with two YACs in fall 2005 . Tallying was quick and easy.
• Your YAC can modify the list of issues and of programs/activities to reflect
their community.
• Because the data is so easily quantifiable, results can be dropped into an Excel
spreadsheet to make charts.
• Identifying a sample is relatively easy as YACers can distribute surveys to
various general ed classes at different grade levels.
• If a survey is to be done in school, the YACers should obtain permission from
the principal; see the Needs Assessment Principal Request Letter ( ) .
Focus groups: This technique has been used in the past and allows for a more
qualitative, less quantitative result. To insure consistency, your YAC should
identify the key questions they’ll ask focus group members. Your training for
focus group facilitators and recorders (YAC members) should include:
• developing key questions
• agreeing on a focus group agenda to insure consistency among focus groups
• deciding where and when to hold the focus groups
• defining focus groups participants: who to target, how to recruit them and
encourage honest dialogue
• assigning and defining YACer responsibilities, such as facilitator or recorder
• creating a final report
Sample: No matter what method you use, the sample should reflect the diversity
found in the local youth community. Schools provide obvious sample
populations, but other sources, such as youth centers and alternative schools,
should be considered.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 6: Grantmaking
The YAC annually engages in a grantmaking
process that is responsive to the critical issues of
area youth.
The Grant Application or Request for Proposals (RFP) ( ): You’ll find a sample
in this Toolkit. Items to include in the grant applications are:
• total amount available for grants, deadline and timeline for decisions
• who to call with questions
• priority areas for funding (presumably from the needs assessment)
• eligibility requirements, such as nonprofit or specific service area, or a
timeline condition (e.g. the YAC doesn’t fund programs that will have
occurred by the time decisions are made)
• submission instructions (should go to Grand Rapids Community
• a list of questions that the YAC would like applicants to respond to in their
Getting the word out: The grant application form will be made available on
www.grfoundation.org. The YAC should consider various methods for
publicizing the availability of the grant application, including:
• producing a Press Release-RFP Available ( ) with the adult board’s approval
• sending out a mailing, perhaps using GRCF’s list of local nonprofits, or
• distributing an announcement in person or electronically.
Submitted grants: Grants will be submitted to Grand Rapids Community
Foundation, where they will be screened for appropriateness and entered into
the database. The Youth Program Officer will bring (or mail in advance if so
preferred) copies of the proposals to the first grant review meeting. She will also
provide a chart listing each grant, amount requested and total amount available.
Important reminders about grantmaking: Prior to each round of grantmaking,
it is critical to remind YACers about three important rules:
• Confidentiality: Some information in grant applications is sensitive,
discussions about grants are private, and no funding decision is final until
approved by the Board.
• Conflicts of interest: A YAC member with a conflict of interest must declare
the conflict and abstain from voting. Use the Conflict of Interest Disclosure
Sheet ( ).
• Religious organizations: Grants may not be made to religious organizations
for a religious purpose.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Proactive grantmaking: Proactive grantmaking refers to any process in which the
YAC pre-determines the issue or project that they intend to impact through their
grantmaking. This contrasts to reactive grantmaking, in which the YAC provides
no direction and simply responds to submitted grant requests. In a way, all YAC
grants (assuming they address an issue identified through a needs assessment)
are proactive, but YACs have a unique opportunity to do even more to raise
awareness of particular issues.
Here’s a proven process for making successful proactive grants:
1. The YAC identifies a particular issue or initiative which they strongly feel
needs to be addressed for the sake of community youth.
2. They develop a plan to impact this issue. This might include developing an
RFP about the specific issue. Or your YAC might convene a group of people
or organizations already at work on this issue to explore ways they could all
work together.
3. Whether through an advisory committee or direct participation, the YAC
should remain engaged in the proactive grant project.
Two examples of Proactive YAC Grants
The Ionia County YAC once identified through focus groups that many teens
were interested in a teen center. They opted to dedicate a majority of their
grantmaking monies to fund a teen center. They developed parameters for what
they wanted to see in a teen center and specified those parameters in an RFP.
The Grand Rapids YAC wanted to impact youth violence. After much
brainstorming, they decided that an effective way to combat youth violence was
through Peer Listening programs at schools. They convened youth and adults
from two schools with strong programs. They funded a free countywide forum
to introduce the concept of Peer Listening (PL) to youth and adults from other
schools. After the forum, they paid for free training for youth and adults from
schools that decided to begin a PL program. All events were funded by the YAC.
Informing grant applicants about YAC decisions: The GRCF Youth Program
Officer will process letters to all grant applicants. Applicants who were denied
grants will receive a brief letter. Applicants who were approved will receive a
letter informing them of their award with instructions on how to process
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Processing payment on grants: Along with the letter informing them of their
award, approved grantees will receive the following forms from GRCF:
• Grant agreement form (top right):
two copies, one of which must be
signed by authorized
representatives of the grantee
organization and returned to
GRCF to process payment
• Request for Grant Payment form
(bottom right): must also be
signed and returned to GRCF to
process payment.
• Progress Report Form: a one-page
series of questions to allow
grantees to inform the YAC as to
progress on the project, typically
due at the end of the calendar year
(more information on page 27).
It typically takes about two weeks to
process a check once all the proper
forms have been submitted. All correspondence
regarding approvals, denials and required forms
will be conducted by the GRCF. If you ever have
any questions about the status of a grant, please
contact the Youth Program Officer.
Public announcement of grant awards: Many YACs formally present a “fake
check” to the grantee organization which can be done at a small reception, a city
council meeting (call in advance to get on the agenda), or an event or meeting of
the grantee organization. Invite Board members to attend no matter which
presentation method you choose. YAC members might also consider a press
release; see the Press Release-Grant Announcement ( ) .
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
The Grant Review Process
Step 1: Preparing for grant review
At the meeting prior to grant review, the YAC should receive a brief overview of what
to expect in the process and Grant Review Instructions ( ).
• Consider having your YAC review the scoring sheet for common understanding
and to make revisions. A Grant Screening Tool ( ) is included in this Toolkit.
• Review conflicts of interest and confidentiality. This Toolkit includes a Conflict of
Interest Disclosure Sheet ( ), which you can distribute at a YAC meeting.
Step 2: Initial grant review
Unless the number of applications makes it prohibitive, all YAC members should
review all grants. If the number of requests is large, the YAC should consider
reviewing them individually prior to the meeting. (The YAC Advisor can request that
GRCF mail the applications to YAC members). Alternatively, break the YAC into
smaller groups to review similar grants.
Typically, two meetings are spent on grant review. At the first meeting, the YAC
does a general review. They discuss how to narrow the field or develop additional
questions. At the second meeting, questions are answered, final recommendations
are developed and plans are made to present the recommendations to the adult
Step 3: Gathering additional information
If, after the first meeting, the YAC has questions, encourage YAC members to
consider inviting agency representatives to attend the second meeting. They could
also conduct a conference call with the applicant or visit the site before the second
meeting. These types of interactions with grant applicants are highly recommended,
and they add a great deal to the grantmaking process. Personal interaction gives
YAC members a much better feel for a grantee.
Step 4: Developing final recommendations
Coming up with final grant recommendations typically involves lots of animated
discussion and debate. Your role as Advisor is to help facilitate the debate, keep
the group on task, provide additional information when requested, and moderate
when needed. When the YAC is stuck, you may ask members to individually identify
their top two or three grants.
Step 5: Getting approval from the Board of Trustees
The YAC is a committee of the Community Fund Board of Trustees and thus requires
Board approval of their grant recommendations. Ideally, YAC members should
attend a Board meeting and formally present their grant recommendations. If time
does not permit this (such as when the Board only meets every other month), the
YAC Advisor can ask the Board Chair to obtain approval by phone or email. Either
way, as soon as the Board has approved the YAC grant recommendations, it is the
responsibility of the YAC Advisor or Board Chair to inform the GRCF Youth Program
Officer. At that time, the GRCF President must give final approval so that the grants
can be processed.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 7: Grant Effectiveness
The YAC evaluates the effectiveness of each grant.
All grantees are contractually required to complete a Progress Report Form
(shown below). This Form is mailed to each grantee with their award letter, and
again approximately one month before the due date of December 31. If the
project is not complete by
the end of the calendar
year when the progress
report is due, a second
progress report will be
required at the end of the
project. Failure to
complete the progress
report can affect future
Following up with grantees
not only fulfills the
contractual requirement,
but is a valuable learning
tool. What challenges did
the grantee face? What
was especially effective or
not effective? What can we
learn from these reports
that we can apply to our
next round of
YAC members should
review written Progress
Reports as they are
submitted. For the sake of comparison, you’ll find it helpful to also provide a
copy of the original grant application as your YACers review the progress report.
They can then more easily identify any discrepancies or learn what worked and
what didn’t. YACers may find the Progress Report Review Form ( ) helpful as
they compare the grant application to the progress report.
Agency meetings, phone calls or site visits are another way to follow up with
grantees. These often have greater impact than simple written reports. If not
prohibited by confidentiality, YAC members might interview young people who
are involved with the funded program.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 8: Volunteerism and Community
The YAC participates in at least once a year in a
community youth project.
One of the original four goals of the Kellogg Foundation was to engage youth in
leadership and service. Although service on the YAC in itself is a mechanism for
that to occur, the intent is that YACers engage more fully in their communities
beyond time spent in meetings.
Lack of availability and need for supervision, however, present real challenges to
get the YAC involved in traditional forms of service, so the YAC needs to be
creative. For your group to collectively participate in a service activity, they may
want to consider spending one of their regularly scheduled meetings engaged in
service. Service with a grantee is also an excellent way to complete service while
doing follow up.
YAC participation in leadership opportunities, community forums and speaking
engagements also demonstrates leadership and service. You can also:
• Use YAC service as a public relations opportunity. Take pictures!
• Participate in Make a Difference Day, or contact the Heart of West Michigan
United Way’s Volunteer Center.
• Contact elementary schools about tutoring opportunities.
• Remind YAC members that service at YAC meetings and YAC-related
functions can count as community service hours. You may be asked to sign
forms to verify service.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 9: Fund Development
The YAC engages in fund development activities to assist
with the continual growth of the endowed youth fund and
the community foundation.
Fund development is a challenge for all YACs. Although all YACers will be
familiar with fundraising, fund development is more about developing
relationships with potential donors and making “the ask.” YAC members should
be clear that it is a long-term strategy, with gifts being placed in the endowed
The essential steps for creating a fund development strategy are:
1. Develop a case statement to explain why someone should give to the Youth
2. Identify prospects, whether individuals or organizations, which might want
to give.
3. Brainstorm how to approach prospects.
4. Thanking each donor. Although the Grand Rapids Community Foundation
will send a formal acknowledgement of each gift, a personal note or phone
call from the YAC is much more effective,
In this Toolkit you’ll find a sample Fund Development Letter ( ) and a Fund
Development Prospect Information Contact form ( ) on which YACers can
submit prospects’ names.
In addition to appeal letters, some additional strategies the YAC might consider:
• Are all YACers and Board members donors?
• If the Board holds fundraising events, ask for a portion of the proceeds in
exchange for YAC members’ assistance at the event.
• YAC Alumni are ideal prospects. Hold a “reunion” event or invite them to a
grantee presentation.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 10: YAC Representation on the Board
of Trustees
The YAC has at least one YAC member serving as a voting
member on the Community Foundation Board of Trustees.
The MCFYP Committee was the primary proponent of a law passed in 1998 that
allowed youth 16 and older to serve as full voting members on nonprofit boards.
A YACer serving on the Board provides a unique and valuable perspective. The
role also gives the YACer an unprecedented leadership opportunity. As with any
type of diversity, the Board benefits by having youth input on a variety of areas,
including grant requests. It also sends a message to other community groups that
young people should have a voice in community issues. Finally, a Youth Trustee
is without a doubt the best link for strengthening the Board/YAC relationship.
If the Community Fund Board has bylaws that define the process for appointing
Trustees, those bylaws may need to be revised. Sample language is available from
Grand Rapids Community Foundation if required.
Selection: Your YAC should take some initiative in determining who the Youth
Trustee will be. Perhaps YAC members will want to identify a particular YACer
to fill the position. Perhaps it is automatically the YAC Chairperson. The Board
should reserve the right to approve the nomination from the YAC.
Structuring the experience: One youth alone may feel intimidated and
uncomfortable in a group of adults, so it is especially effective to have a trusteein-training as well. The trustee-in-training spends a year observing the Board,
and, the next year, becomes a Youth Trustee. This structure allows for two youth
to attend meetings, and it allows a year to become familiar with Board processes.
The Board may need to make accommodations when bringing a Youth Trustee
on board. This may include altering meeting times, providing an orientation or
explaining the Board’s process. You should advise adults on how to welcome and
be sensitive to the Youth Trustee.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 11: YAC Interaction with Board
YAC members interact with Community Foundation Board,
Staff and Donors at least twice a year on a formal and
informal level.
Through the Advisor and Youth Trustee, YAC members should regularly be
made aware of Board events or activities. Suggestions for facilitating these
• Youth Trustee provides a quick recap of Board happenings at YAC meetings.
• Job shadows are arranged between YAC members and Board members.
• Both participate in a joint service project.
• YAC members attend Foundation events or Board meetings.
• Board members attend a YAC meeting.
• Board members recognize graduating YAC members.
• Board and YAC members work together on fund development donor calls.
An effective way to simultaneously honor the contributions of YAC members
and strengthen the ties with the Board is to recognize YAC members at a
community foundation function or board meeting, and to present each member
with a Certificate of Recognition ( ) .
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 12: YAC Recognition
The Community Foundation highlights YAC activities in its
annual report, website, newsletters, public presentations
and other communication tools.
A closer relationship between the YAC and the Board will naturally lead to more
regular recognition in Foundation materials. The Community Fund page on the
www.grfoundation.org website has a corresponding YAC page. Trustees should
regularly review the page and suggest opportunities for enhancement. They can
also assist with YAC public relations, including press releases about availability of
grants, grant announcements and membership opportunities.
If the Community Foundation produces a newsletter, the YAC should be
featured in every issue. Ask YAC members for story ideas. You, as an Advisor,
can feed the newsletter editor ideas, including:
• features on YAC grantees or alumni,
• results of a needs assessment,
• how to join YAC,
• photos of YAC community service events or check presentations.
YAC members may also wish to use they creative skills in developing their own
brochure for use in recruiting, fund development, and promotion. In this
Toolkit, you’ll find two sample YAC brochures: one Brochure-newsletter-style
( ) and one Brochure-trifold style ( ) .
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Best Practice 13: Self-Assessment
The YAC conducts an annual self-assessment to reflect
upon its strengths, challenges, use of Best Practices and
opportunities for improvements.
The end of the year is an ideal time for the YAC to reflect upon its processes. At
yearend, YAC members more easily recall what worked and what didn’t and can
make more informed recommendations for the next year.
The YAC can evaluate its work in a number of ways:
• YAC members can engage in a facilitated discussion, using one of the
techniques described on page 20 and 21.
• Track Your YAC ( ) allows the YAC to evaluate its progress towards Best
Practices. This tool is quick and easy, and, if done as a group, lets you quickly
identify key issues.
• Year End Evaluation ( ) is a more qualitative assessment of YACers’
experience on the YAC. It also collects feedback on specific issues. This form
can be modified to meet the needs or experiences of a particular YAC.
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Explanation of role
Do’s and Don’ts
Responsibilities and Expectations
Role in relation to the GRCF Youth Program Officer
Agency meeting
Meeting Agenda with Calendar Template
Who determines the agenda
YAC 101—Annual Orientation and Planning Template
Annual Tasks and Responsibilities
5, 7
Apple tree analogy
Best Practices
Best Practice 1: Meetings
Best Practice 2: Membership
Best Practice 3: Advisors
Best Practice 4: Training
Best Practice 5: Needs Assessment
Best Practice 6: Grantmaking
Best Practice 7: Grant Effectiveness
Best Practice 8: Volunteerism and Community Service
Best Practice 9: Fund Development
Best Practice 10: Youth Trustee
Best Practice 11: YAC Interaction with the Board
Best Practice 12: YAC Recognition
Best Practice 13: Self-assessment
Overview of
Rationale behind
Track Your YAC! Assessment
Board of Trustees
Appointment of YAC Advisor
Appointment of Youth Trustee
Oversight role
Recognition of YAC in publications
Relationship to YAC
Requirements to maintain an independent YAC
Creation of YAC
Of advisor tasks and responsibilities
Certificate of Recognition
Community Service requirements
16, 28
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Conflicts of Interest
Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF)
Relationship to YACs
Training opportunities
2, 19
Of grant applications
Of grantees
Of progress towards Best Practices
Of progress reports from grantees
Of YAC by YAC members at year-end
Of youth needs in the community
Site visits or agency meetings as a form of evaluation
Expenses incurred by YAC
26, 27
Facilitating (see also Planning)
Helpful hints
Fund Development
Prospect Contact Form Template
Sample Fund Development Letter
Steps in developing a plan
Grant Review Instructions
Grant Screening Tool
Grantmaking Simulation Activity
Approval and denial notification
Grant Review Instructions Template
Grant Review process
Grant Screening Tool Template
Press release on Grant awards
Press release on RFP availability
Proactive grantmaking
Processing payments to grantees
Progress reports from grantees
Promoting the availability of the RFP
Request for Proposals Template
History of YAC
Kellogg Challenge (see W.K. Kellogg Foundation)
Liability Release
MCFYP (see Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project)
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Agenda with Calendar Template
What happens at
Who leads
Advantages to serving on YAC
Attendance issues
Diversity of YAC membership
How many members
Information, Waiver, and Release of Liability Form
Membership Application Template
Recruiting new members
Membership Application Template
Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project (MCFYP)
Four Goals of YACs
History and relationship to YACs
Relationship to CMF
Training opportunities
Needs Assessment
Importance of a needs assessment
Focus Groups
Needs Assessment Survey Sample Template
Obtaining a sample
Obtaining permission from principal
Nonprofit organization
12, 13
Orientation and Training
Grantmaking Simulation Activity
Through CMF
YAC 101—Orientation and Planning Session
20, 21
2, 19
Facilitating a planning process
Nominal Group Process
Sticky Note Planning
Press releases
Grant announcement
RFP availability
20, 21
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
Progress Reports
Requirements of grantees
Reviewing progress reports
Recognition of YAC members
25, 27
Recruitment (see Membership)
15, 16
Religious organizations, prohibition on funding
Request for Proposals (RFP)
Press release announcing RFP availability
Requirements to maintain an independent YAC
Samples (available for download at www.grfoundation.org)
Advisor Roles and Expectations
Agenda with Calendar
Annual Tasks and Responsibilities
Best Practices Assessment (Track Your YAC)
Best Practices Manual
Best Practices Overview
Certificate of Recognition
Conflict of Interest Disclosure form
Fund Development Letter
Fund Development Prospect Information Contact Form
Grant Review Instructions
Grant Screening Tool
Grantmaking Simulation Activity
Information, Waiver, and Release of Liability Form
Meeting Reminder
Membership Application Form
Needs Assessment Principal Request Letter
Needs Assessment Survey
Press Releases
Progress Report Review Form
Request for Proposals
Treasurer’s Report and Budget Form
YAC 101 Orientation and Planning Agenda
Year-end Evaluation
Site visit
5, 6
5, 7
11, 33
23, 26
23, 25
Spending rule
Track Your YAC! Assessment Tool
11, 33
Treasurer’s Report and Budget Form
Uniqueness of YAC
Volunteering and Community Service
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Relationship to YACs
Intent of the Kellogg Challenge
Results of the Kellogg Challenge
Youth Trustee
2, 17
Indicates password-protected items available for download from www.grfoundation.org.
Youth Advisory Committee Advisor Toolkit