Giving Compass’ Take:
· Fast Company talks with Kristen Witzel, founder of Kids Boost, about her nonprofit’s work to teach children philanthropy through a three-month program. The program provides children with $100 as “seed money” which they then have to use to support a cause and garner even larger contributions.
· How does this program encourage youths to be more involved in their communities? How does it make them more aware of world issues? What do enrollees learn throughout this program?
Several years ago, Kristen Witzel was working as a childcare specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she helped educate and support families whose children were hospitalized. Once the kids got better, she began to see a common theme: They felt thankful and wanted to help improve the world.
One day a boy named Jared, who had recovered from a traumatic arm injury, said he wanted to raise money for the hospital to help other kids. “I asked him: ‘What kind of stuff do you love to do? Let’s make this fun,’” Witzel says. Part of Jared’s rehab included wall climbing, which had become his new favorite sport. So Witzel helped Jared organize his own climbathon.
“When he was presenting the check, I had this aha moment of: ‘What if every kid had the opportunity to use what they love to help a cause that’s important to them,” she says. “Kids want to make a difference. They want to do something to change the world and have an impact, but they often just don’t know how.”
To change that, Witzel founded Kids Boost, an Atlanta nonprofit that teaches young people philanthropy just like any seasonal crafts or sports program. Except Kids Boost doesn’t charge participants any money up front. The three-month program gives each participant $100 in seed money and access to a personal coach. The goal is to figure out what cause they want to support and find a way to leverage that funding into a larger contribution. Eighty percent of what they raise goes directly to the cause, while the other 20% is used to enroll more kids.
Kids Boost is open to anyone ages eight to 14. So far, its graduates have completed 125 successful projects (some work in pairs and share the initial $100) since the group started in 2015. Overall, Kids Boost has seeded a total of $10,000 to kids, who have used it to help fundraise nearly $200,000 for 72 nonprofits.
Read the full article about teaching children philanthropy by Ben Paynter at Fast Company.
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