By Arjun Yerabothu
My name is Arjun and I am currently in 9th grade. Last year I was a part of the 8th grade Southborough Youth in Philanthropy program. This program helps kids understand the inner workings of a non-profit and how they truly make a difference in our community. Coming in to the program, I didn’t know a lot about what goes into running a nonprofit, such as money management, structure, ties to corporations, managing facilities, and much more. By the end, I felt like I understood this much better. [/two_third]
At the beginning of the program we started breaching the surface of nonprofits. One of the first things I learned about was the structure of a non-profit – the different levels to an organization. For example, the board of directors, different sections, and a CEO or executive president. In addition to that, we learned about the types of foundations. They are family, corporate and independent foundations. The family foundations are usually founded by an individual or a family and are generally operated by members of that family. The corporate foundations are created and funded by companies as a separate legal entity, but are operated by a board of directors composed of company officials. The independent foundation operates independently from their original donors or original source of funds. Lastly community foundations which are operated for the benefit of a region and they receive funds from a wide variety of donors. I had no idea that there were so many types of foundations until now. I dived deeper into what these actually are when we went on our site visits and I saw examples of all of these, too.
The site visits were actually one of my favorite parts of the program. It was one thing to sit there and learn about these places online as opposed to listening to someone talk about an organization they are really passionate about. During my site visits, I could tell how much people wanted to make our community better at places like SMOC and the Southborough Food Pantry! These site visits gave me new insight into the organizations that changed my mentality on non-profits for the better!
This experience also equipped me and my friends with skills that we can use throughout our life; the art of questioning, negotiating, and listening. Three important life skills that I know I can take into High School and beyond. YIP has made me appreciate the work of nonprofits, and the work people put in with no reward for themselves except the joy of helping someone. This is an idea that really stuck with me and I know I want to help as many people as possible.
I encourage kids to dive into a YIP program to get a better understanding of what it is like to be a philanthropist and what it takes to work at, run, volunteer at, or even start a non-profit!
Find out more about the Youth in Philanthropy program.