What Is Teens 4 Change (T4C)?
Each Year, the T4C program will involve 10-15 high school students of different ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds in all aspects of the grantmaking process.
Teens 4 Change (T4C) introduces you to the grantmaking process and provides you with the opportunity to work in with a group of 15 students from different backgrounds. As a T4C board member, you have the chance to present multiple grants to local youth-run organizations.
T4C board members learn about, create, and conduct an entire grant cycle from start to finish and then share what they have learned as grant-makers and philanthropists with their communities.
What do you do as a T4C Board Member?
As a T4C board member you learn about philanthropy and current issues facing young people. You reach out to youth in the community and encourage them to plan a project and apply for T4C grant money to carry it out.
Then, you review proposed project ideas and make decisions as a group about which project(s) receive the T4C grant. We award $7,500 in grants of various sizes to projects that impact youth.
Participation in this program helps you develop important leadership skills, learn about inequalities facing youth, and learn new skills such as planning meetings, outreach and public speaking, organizing programs, proposal evaluation and group decision-making.
Past Teens 4 Change Grantees
Below are examples of youth-led social justice initiatives that have been funded by Teens 4 Change board members.
Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education – PRYSE Academy
E’racism Shaler High School
Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS Inc.
Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh
Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Pittsburgh
M-Powerment Shaler High School
Prime Stage Theater
Seeds of Hope
Who can apply?
High school students who want to:
1.) Work with other youth to make decisions about where money to help young people goes,
2.) Help youth and their communities,
3.) Learn about grant-making, program planning and group decision-making,
4.) Gain important leadership experience, work in groups, express opinions, and have FUN!
Who gets selected?
The Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) will select 15 T4C board members that reflect the diversity of young people in Allegheny County. Youth are selected from different neighborhoods, schools, grades, academic levels, and life experiences. Students are encouraged to apply regardless of race, gender, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, physical/mental ability, ethnicity, language spoken, or immigration status.
What is the time commitment?
Board membership runs from January to May with one introductory meeting in November. The T4C board meets once a week in TRCF’s office. In April two 4 hour meetings are held to review grant proposals.
T4C meets once in November for a mandatory introductory orientation and training session. The year closes with an awards ceremony in June. The board may meet again for site visits in July or August. There is also some independent work between meetings.
Do you get paid?
The program is voluntary, but you receive a $100 stipend for your transportation to and from the meetings. The stipend is for board members who participate throughout the board term.
After you submit your application…
You will receive an email confirmation. Your application will be reviewed by Advisory Board members and TRCF staff. If your application is selected, you will be asked to do a short face-to-face interview. Interviews will be scheduled in October-November. Final acceptance notifications will be given by mid to late November.
This program was adapted from the Fund for Santa Barbara’s (California) Youth Making Change program.
Through Teens for Change (young people giving to young people), participants will develop a sound knowledge of the grantseeking and grantmaking process, learn to make difficult decisions, develop – many of them for the first time – a sense of responsibility for others and a sense of fulfillment at having been able to assist others in need as they work to improve their lives and their communities. This program is designed to “plant the seeds” of social responsibility and nurture the philanthropic instinct in today’s young people.
Participating students will solicit and review proposals for support of important and worthwhile projects designed to promote social justice and change.
In a “Pay it Forward” component, the participating students will be asked, during the final phases of their project, to raise an amount equivalent to 10% of the funds that they grant. If three schools are involved, the average of funds raised would be $250 per school, with larger amount(s) coming from the more affluent participating school(s). Part of these matching funds will be raised at an end-of-project fundraising event, which will draw some of TRCF’s board and committee members, who, along with other attendees, will make small donations to the seed money fund. The funds raised will then be allocated as seed funds to the next group of students’ to participate in the program who, in turn, will be asked to do the same. In this way, the participating student grantmakers develop an understanding of the solicitation process and an understanding of the importance of helping those who come later.