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Generation Give, a local philanthropy programme

Generation Give, a local philanthropy programme

What do you want to be when you're older? It's a question all-too-familiar for many young people, but perhaps for 18 Wakatipu High School students, the question is less about what do you want to be, and more, who. A youth philanthropy programme made its debut in Queenstown in March of this year and 7 months later, we reflect on the ripples the youngsters have made in the community and further afield.

From the outset and throughout, the programme has turned any preconceptions of Philanthropy on its head. Founded by 3 ex-high school students, Beatrice Onions (20), Chris Belmont (19) and Hugh Taylor, (19) have worked under the guidance of the Wakatipu Community Foundation to implement a youth philanthropy programme, created by young people, for young people. "We created something we would have jumped at the opportunity to do at high school," says Beatrice. This laid the foundation for Youth Philanthropy New Zealand (YPNZ), and the first pilot programme, Generation Give, was launched as the very first of its kind.

The model enabled corporate sponsors, Roost Mortgages and Craigs IP as well as The Tindall Foundation and local philanthropists, Dick and Diana Hubbard, to grant a collaborative total of $10,000 which was then allocated by 18 hand-selected budding philanthropists from WHS, into the community. A curriculum spanning 20 weeks, taught the fundamental skills of marketing, event planning, board governance, charitable governance, and consensus-building to equip the students with the necessary tools to allocate 6 grants to local charities.

Perhaps the most exciting element of the youth philanthropy programme is its inclusion of local philanthropists such as Sir Eion Edgar, Kay Parker and Jim Boult who shared their wisdom and encouragement in the weekly sessions held at the high school.

Helena Hornbracher, one of the Gen Give Graduates believes that, "... anyone can be generous, and anyone can be a Philanthropist, no matter their age or place in life."

This philosophy was shared amongst the community by the students who encouraged fellow school mates, neighbours, teachers and grandparents alike, to purchase raffle tickets. When site visits to the shortlisted charities were conducted, this same philosophy guided conversations around adapting charities to be more connected to the community with facebook pages set up by the students and high school-related projects peppering discussions. Kate Edmonds and Grace Hall, two of the Gen Give students have even extended their efforts by helping one of the grant recipients now, after the pilot programme has come to it's close.

If a particular milestone were to define the success of the pilot programme, then all WCF Gala attend-ees can attest to the momentous announcement of The Hugo Foundation matching the $10,000 grants awarded by the Gen Give students.

The Hugo Charitable Trust has since invited the Gen Give students to present to them at their trustee meeting in October to finalise this match. The generosity of this community has not only supported, but demonstrated, what it is to invest in your community and the next generation of leaders.

This support has also translated into the expansion of the Gen Give into Auckland in 2020, which will be mentored by the existing mentors, and in particular Chris Belmont who attends University in the city.

The WHS Gen Give Mentors would like to extend the most sincere thanks to the sponsors who supported this programme, the WCF for their mentorship and the incredible Gen Give students who exceeded any expectations they mentors had. You are inspirational and brought such maturity, kindness and wisdom beyond your years.

So when the question is asked, "what do you want to be when you're older,” perhaps the answer for these budding philanthropists is what we already know to be true: kind, capable and willing to be the change they want to see in the world.

© Scoop Media

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