When Kent Newcomb, Hamilton Community Foundation’s former President (also immediate past Chairman of Community Foundations of Canada) presided over a national conference in Calgary, he heard young people from several Michigan foundations share their positive experiences of being involved with community foundations.
Their enthusiasm reinforced an idea that he and his wife Thérèse had been thinking about for some time. “Young people need a voice not only in the issues that face them now, but in the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in the future. They need to develop the attitudes, values and skills that will enable them to contribute effectively to their communities and their country. The best way to learn generosity and to value community service is by direct exposure and involvement.
Thérèse and Kent challenged Hamilton Community Foundation to develop a program that would involve youth and provide leadership opportunities for young people. They endowed $100,000 with the gift of 1,000 shares of McDonald’s Corporation. “We consider this as a millennium gift and a legacy for the future. Hamilton is a very giving community in my experience. Its finest resource is its people,” says Thérèse. “Our gift is our way of recognizing and thanking a great community.” The project is underway and a Youth In Philanthropy Advisory Committee has been formed involving young school leaders who look at the needs of young folk in our community and work to raise the funds to address those needs, stimulate volunteerism and make grants from income of the Youth Fund.
Thérèse and Kent emphasize that this is an open fund in the Hamilton Community Foundation and they hope that it will attract donations from others who are supportive of the Youth in Philanthropy concept. “We see this fund as growing and being directed by young people.”
Excerpt from 1998-1999 Annual Report