Youth Advisory Council    



Youth Advisory Council (YAC)

The YAC is a unique opportunity to learn about community philanthropy, grantmaking, social justice, volunteerism and a place to help you develop and strengthen your leadership skills. No relations to the long-haired domesticated bovine called Yak.


What Will You Gain?

  • Understanding of youth movement building.
  • Individual and group leadership skills.
  • Professional and personal development opportunities.
  • Understanding of the work of philanthropic community foundations and how to apply an equity lens to grantmaking practices.
  • A network of relationships with youth and professional leaders in Kalamazoo.



 What Do We Focus On?

 We are committed to funding organizations that have a strong focus on racial justice and education. This means that for the young members of our community who have been marginalized, we must correct imbalances, expand opportunities and improve access to resources, which will make our systems work better for everyone. For more information, please refer to our Granting Priorities page. 


What Will We Do?

Lead youth grantmaking process – determine youth grantmaking priorities, solicit and assess grant applications; make recommendations to fund projects that support youth in Kalamazoo County. Learn about the work of our nonprofit partners and how they make an impact on youth in Kalamazoo. 
Assess the needs of local youth. Support the KZCF's direct engagement with youth and funding of youth-focused work. Connect with state-wide network of youth advisory councils through the Council of Michigan Foundations' annual summer youth conference. Participate in fun team building activities.


Who Should Join?

High school students in Kalamazoo County (public, private, home school or unschooled). In accordance with CDC guidelines, weekly meetings will be held via Zoom for the foreseeable future. Meetings take place on Thursdays at 6pm.

  • Interested participants, please fill out the contact form below to learn more.

In our December issue of Partners in Progresswe were thrilled to announce the launch of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s own Youth Advisory Council (also known as the KZCF YAC). For nearly 30 years, the Youth United Way (YUW) partnership between United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region and KZCF has ensured youth have a voice, opportunities to grow, and direct impact through grantmaking in Kalamazoo County. 
Whereas nonprofits once applied for program/project funding through YUW, this responsibility will now be incorporated into the scope of the KZCF YAC. We are honored to work alongside and learn from youth leaders throughout Kalamazoo County in this new capacity, and to assume the responsibility of youth-oriented grantmaking with an equity lens. 

See below a few organizations that received YAC funding in 2021:

  • Young Kings and Queens
  •  Inner City Youth for Change
  • Metro Kalamazoo NAACP
  • Helen L. Fox Gospel Music Center
  • Kalamazoo Youth Development Network


The Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (KZCF YAC) is seeking applications for ten (10) open positions for high school students to join our cohort of youth leaders from across Kalamazoo County! 

  •  Applications will be accepted in both written and electronic formats and are due by October 1 at 5:00pm.
  • The YAC Manager will follow up with more information after receiving each application.
  • If you are submitting electronically, please email your application to Sandy Barry-Loken, Vice President of Grants, at
  • If you need assistance accessing or sending in an application, please contact the YAC Manager via email or by phone at 269-381-4416. 



Contact Garrett Sander, Youth Advisory Council Manager, at 269.381.4416 or



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