Rapid Growth of Youth Philanthropy Boards Leads to Restructuring of Local Foundation

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Rapid growth and the success of an innovative core curriculum have led to restructuring of the locally based Make the DASH Count Foundation. Founder Hope Moore announced today that Stacey Guadnola, who has served as the executive director of the foundation since 2005, will move from this position to take over as the facilitator for the newly formed community youth board in Renton, Wash.

Rapid growth and the success of an innovative core curriculum have led to restructuring of the locally based Make the DASH Count Foundation. Founder Hope Moore announced today that Stacey Guadnola, who has served as the executive director of the foundation since 2005, will move from this position to take over as the facilitator for the newly formed community youth board in Renton, Wash.

The position of executive director for the foundation will be phased out, a change consistent with Moore's long-term vision for the nonprofit organization. "The role of the parent foundation has always been to guide and support the youth boards," Moore said. "We've found that the individual youth boards are in the best position to assess the needs of their respective communities."

From its formation in 2003, the foundation has grown from supporting one charter youth board in Tacoma, Wash., to supporting four regional youth boards, three in Washington and one in Massachusetts. A fifth board will be operational in Renton in 2008. Led by an adult facilitator, each of the community-based boards is comprised of 12-15 high-school-aged youth who participate in all phases of the grant-making process, with grant monies being awarded to local community programs that serve the needs of at-risk youth. By 2007, the boards had awarded over $130,000 to deserving community programs.

"When I started the foundation four years ago, I had no idea it would grow this fast," Moore said. "It made sense to run the youth boards the way we did in the beginning, with a more top-down approach, as we were still learning. Now we really need to focus on making them self-sufficient and self-sustaining. I think restructuring this way is the direction we need to move in."

While serving as executive director of the foundation, Moore said, Guadnola not only established the founding youth board in Tacoma, she created the internal structure and core curriculum that allow the foundation's youth boards to be replicated. Her "Youth Board in a Box" model has allowed other interested communities to create and successfully run their own Make the DASH Count Foundation youth boards.

"We have communities approaching us to ask about creating their own youth boards, which is very exciting," Moore said. "Our ability to get our board up and running in Seattle this fall, with only minor training support at the foundation level, is a 'proof of concept' that the 'Youth Board in a Box' curriculum works. Empowering the youth boards will greatly increase the impact they have on their communities and also allow us to leverage the impact of the foundation."

The foundation continues to establish roots in new communities. Recently, a group of donors stepped forward with a decade's worth of funding to establish a youth board in Renton. Guadnola, who has a masters degree in leadership and development from Harvard Graduate School of Education, will now organize and facilitate the Renton Community Youth Board, a job she looks forward to. "Next year promises even more opportunities for these talented and dedicated young people to sprout their philanthropic wings," she said. "Working directly with the youth is what I love the most about the work I do."

At the same time, she will continue to work closely with Moore in the coming year to fine-tune the "Youth Board in a Box" curriculum. "Without Stacey's diligent work to develop a portable curriculum, the growth we've experienced wouldn't have been possible without a great deal of overhead and expense," Moore said. "With her help, I look forward to taking the next steps to refine the foundation's long-term strategy and guide its future growth."

About Make the DASH Count Foundation

The Make the DASH Count Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit foundation dedicated to developing the next generation of community leaders while also benefiting at-risk youth. The foundation does this through community-based boards of directors comprised of a diverse group of high-school-age youth, who serve as stewards of the grant-making process, annually awarding grant monies to nonprofit organizations serving at-risk youth in their communities. In 2003, Hope Moore began the foundation as a way to educate young people, including her own son, in the responsibilities of community leadership and charitable giving. By 2007, the youth boards had awarded more than $100,000 to community programs from coast to coast. For more information on the Make the DASH Count Foundation, go to http://www.makethedashcount.com.

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