Our Town Norfolk: Philanthropy

The Philanthropy Council has been creating a culture of giving in northeast Nebraska since 2010.

“We were looking for a way to educate the next generation of philanthropists in the community, so instead of doing something to or for the youth, we tried to figure out a way, what is something we could do with the youth?" Vice Chair of the council Anders Olson said.

The answer turned out to be 'the Youth Philanthropy Contest.'

The idea was to give kids the opportunity to apply for up to a $1,000 to create a project in the community that benefited it in a positive way," Olson added.

The contest is open to students from kindergarten through college. And over the past seven years, the contest funded has 116 projects.

"In total, that works out to be about a $106,000 reinvested in the community through youth-driven and youth-led community projects, which gives me goosebumps even talking about it, it's a cool, cool program," Olson said.

Mandy Wolff is a 3rd-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary that has had her class participate in the Youth Philanthropy Contest each year of its existence.

“I want to teach them and give them opportunities and show them that there is a world beyond their own personal experiences," Wolff said.

Anders says Mandy and her class won last years award.

Mandy says that teaching kids about giving is a gift that keeps on giving.

"That's my goal for Drew and Hector and Serenity, that one day they will pass it on. That one day they will use their time, talent and treasures to teach somebody else about philanthropy," she said.