College Positive Communities: YAC Challenge Grants

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Communities across Michigan are on their way to becoming “college positive,” thanks to the College Positive Communities YAC Challenge Grant, an innovative program that encourages Youth Advisory Committees (YAC) to build a strong, statewide network of youth grantmakers that are proactively supporting college access and success and to leverage additional community dollars for local organizations that encourage a college positive community.

In its second year and supported by The Kresge Foundation as part of the Community Foundation Challenge Grant, the College Positive Community Challenge Grant encourages YACs to create partnerships with community groups such as mentoring and tutoring organizations, or to organize special projects that specifically engage low-income, first generation and/or students of color and create a college-going mindset. YACs apply for up to $2,500 to be matched locally with new dollars, transferred dollars from their community foundation or spendable grant dollars from their YAC fund.  

Our video highlights a selection of 2012 YAC Challenge Grant winners and their incredible, college positive projects.  We're proud to announce below the 2013 winners and look forward to seeing their innovation and enthusiasm across the state!

Here are the 2013 Challenge Grant winners with highlights of their programs:

Jackson Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee plans to partner with the county-wide college access network, Cradle 2 Career, to identify low-income, first generation, students of color and take these students on college visits.

Four County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee is partnering with Know How 2 Go to host a Career and College Fair for high school students, engaging with colleges and local professionals. They also plan to bring a motivational speaker, and award scholarships.

Lenawee Community Foundation YOUTH will partner with local schools, Upward Bound, and Lenawee Intermediate School District Transition Office (for students with disabilities) to provide college visits for students who may not see their future in post-secondary education.  Students and chaperones will visit 6 schools and eat lunch on each campus  - bravely trying new foods, leaving small communities for the big city and far-away places, and exploring new majors and ideas. 

Midland Youth Action Council will partner with local youth-serving agencies, theROCK Youth Center, the Midland County Juvenile Care Center and the West Midland Family center to provide funds to expand or implement college visits for the youth they (and in turn, we) serve. MCYAC will also be supporting the goal of increasing FAFSA applications by offering “I applied” tshirts to all Midland County students who apply for FAFSA regardless of their financial need. Lastly, MCYAC will be spending some time in helping their peers through a tutoring program at the Midland County Juvenile Care Center.

Gladwin County Youth Action Council will be partnering with Mid Michigan Community College to support students who are dual enrolled by providing a scholarship to cover the cost of books. Additionally, GladYAC will be supporting the goal of increasing FAFSA applications by offering “I applied” tshirts to all Gladwin County students who apply for FAFSA regardless of their financial need.

Kalamazoo Community Foundation Youth United Way will provide day-long college positive and educational workshops at the Alternative Learning Program Middle School, planned and facilitated by the youth committee members to be near peer mentors.

Grand Haven Area Youth Advisory Committee is partnering with the Tri-Cities College Access Network. A free ‘Play and Learn’ group will be available to parents and their children (5 and under) offering an easily accessible place where they can participate in educational activities, story time, and art that is centered around a book and a snack. Our hope is that this will help to encourage learning at a young age and reach those children who may not be enrolled in preschool.”

Manistee County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee plans to partner with the Local College Access Network to support college positive programming for youth and provide more grant funds to encourage educational empowerment.

Barry Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council will partner with Navigate, our local college access network, and local public high schools to provide assistance with obtaining access to college for the students of Barry County.  The money will be used for ACT preparation, a career day, FASFA and scholarship/financial aid workshops.  We serve 4 very different school districts in Barry County and although each area high school may vary in their needs, we feel these focus areas are some of the main "road block" for students of lower income in our area.

The Teen Grantmaking Initiative of the Center for Arab-American Philanthropy is partnering with ACCESS in Dearborn to host a college fair in May 2014. Additionally, TGI members will be hosting two college tours for local youth, and plan to visit both Southeast and West Michigan universities.

Michigan Gateway Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee will partner with Lake Michigan College to organize college tours for 8th graders from six different schools and be mentors to the 8th grade participants.

Oceana Youth Advisory Council will host FAFSA workshops and partner with Baker College to identify opportunities to provide funds more local college access projects serving low income students.

Battle Creek Community Foundation Youth Alliance Committee will partner with local schools to support career fairs in middle schools. This YAC wants to encourage students to start planning for a successful high school experience that will lead to college and professional careers.

Community Foundation for Delta County Youth Advisory Committee will partner with the Delta County College Access Network to sponsor FAFSA workshops, College Goal Sunday and several college tours for students from local schools.

The Community Foundation for the Holland/Zealand Area Youth Advisory Committee will fund mini-grants to local college access programming facilitated by the College Advising Corps Members, Upward Bound, and Latin Americans United for Progress.

Bay Area Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee will fund college visits to Saginaw State University and Delta College for 9th graders.

Community Foundation for Muskegon County will partner with the local college access network, Muskegon Opportunity, to provide mini-grants to local programs encouraging a college positive community.



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