Secondary school students in Scotland have secured more than £600,000 of funding for good causes in their communities through the Through The Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).
YPI has engaged more than 200,000 young people since it was launched in 2018 by Through the Wood Foundation, the charitable foundation of Sir Ian Wood, and has directed more than £4.5m to Scottish charities across each of the country’s 32 local authorities.
As a result of last year’s student involvement in YPI, this academic year will see more than £600,000 go to a range of local causes through £3,000 grants. Mental health charities, health support services, and organisations supporting people living in poverty were the top three issues to receive the funding through young people from throughout the country representing causes they care about in a bid to secure their school’s grant from the foundation.
Pre-lockdown, students took part in a range of classroom-based activities to learn about philanthropy and the needs of their communities. An entire year group at each school was split into teams with one, deemed to have the most convincing and creative presentation, securing their school’s £3,000 grant.
When lockdown was announced, The Wood Foundation announced an adaptation to the process to give students who had not completed their programme the opportunity to advocate and raise funds for the local response to Covid-19.
Jonathan Christie, Deputy UK Director at The Wood Foundation, said:
“The sums secured by young people for local communities is incredible. This is a unique form of delegated grant-making and puts the power in students’ hands, ensuring there’s representation of the causes which matter to them. As well as funds, there are vital awareness raising and relationship components, as well as a range of skills development opportunities for the young people themselves.”
Gillian Dunsmuir leads YPI at Stewarton Academy in Kilmarnock. She added:
“For many pupils, YPI is a humbling experience and supports them to develop skills required for learning, life and work. It provides them with new experiences out with the context of a classroom and is invaluable in allowing them to interact with people from a range of backgrounds and ages who have faced a whole host of challenges in their lives.”
This academic year will also see more than 250 schools participate in YPI.
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