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Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)2023-11-06T15:28:37-05:00

Youth Advisory Committee Formed at The Luzerne Foundation Student Run Group to Research and Award Grants

What happens when you put a group of twenty-eight 9th-12thgraders from seven different schools together in a room? Noise? Lots of clicking and texting? A bit of trepidation, perhaps some boredom? Probably all of the above. But when those students are part of YAC, you will also see excitement, determination, curiosity, and collaboration. These students are there for a purpose.

YAC members are learning the fundamentals of philanthropy. Many have probably participated in fundraisers – a bake sale, dance marathon, car wash, etc. Thus, it may not be out of their comfort zone to solicit potential donors to raise approximately $15,000 to give away.  It is the next step that provides a challenge.

How do you give that money away? Throughout the year-long program, “YACsters” survey community needs, solicit grant applications and review them. Site visits occur, and reports are presented to the entire group so that votes may be taken on who should receive the grants. The students quickly understand that the needs are many, and there is not always enough to go around.

Twenty nonprofits were invited to present at a YAC nonprofit forum where members asked direct questions. The group narrowed the field to 12 nonprofits, site visits occurred then discussions ensued regarding each request. Finally, the field was narrowed to three and a final vote was taken.  The grant recipients listed below were presented with checks at the YAC annual dinner.

The process is eye-opening for many of the students, but the satisfaction felt from knowing their efforts have made a difference in the community makes it all worthwhile.

This year YAC supported:

Parenting Autism United: $5,500
United Way of Wyoming Valley: $4,500
NEPA Philharmonic: $4,000
Volunteers of America: $3,500
Think Big Pediatric Cancer Fund: $2,500

Since the 2013/14 school year, YAC has supported 36 organizations with grants totaling $147,775.

YAC Nonprofit Forum

Sunday, December 3, 2023
5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
The Luzerne Foundation Offices
34 South River Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Our community’s youth are our future leaders, and engaging them now in philanthropic endeavors matters to The Luzerne Foundation and our community’s well-being.
Eleven years ago, The Luzerne Foundation established the Youth Advisory Committee, otherwise known as “YAC”. YAC’s mission is to empower high school youth to identify needs and fund them responsibly. YAC consists of twenty-three students from 9 Luzerne County High schools eager to help support local nonprofit organizations through a professionally run comprehensive program.
This year’s YAC participants chose to offer an RFP Process to local nonprofit organizations that serve those affected by poverty.
Only the first 20 qualified participants will be selected, so act quickly! 
The submission deadline is Monday, November 27 or until we announce that the Forum is full! Don’t delay in sending your application! 

Applications must be submitted through our Grant Portal.

Things You Should Know:

Participation in the YAC Forum does not preclude your charity’s eligibility to apply for a spot in The Luzerne Foundation’s Spring 2024 Nonprofit Forum. The first 20 applicants will receive a confirmation email and a commitment form. Once the commitment form is signed and returned, your 5-minute slot in the Forum is secure. You should then begin to prepare your presentation (Three minutes to speak about your project followed by 2 minutes of questions)

  • You will be allowed 2 additional PowerPoint slides should you choose. The Luzerne Foundation will supply one introductory slide.
  • Only one person from your organization may speak, and no additional props are allowed.
  • Please be sure that you can participate on 12/03/23 before committing to ensure the best experience possible for everyone. APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED THROUGH OUR GRANT PORTAL. This method records the date/time confirmation of each RFP/application since we are limited to the first 20 submissions. (no e-mail, snail mail, or hand-delivered applications will be accepted.)
  • Following the Forum, the YAC students will deliberate and narrow the field down to 6-8 finalists. TLF will send notifications to all participants by December 15, 2023.
  • YAC invites *all qualified 501 (c)(3) public charities in Luzerne County that serve those affected by poverty to submit an RFP/application
  • **Organizations that received YAC funding in April/May 2023 are ineligible to participate in this funding cycle.
  • If you are a finalist, a YAC student will follow up with you to arrange a site visit. Members of the YAC Group will visit your organization, ask questions, and collect data to be used in their final deliberation process in April 2023.

Thank you for your time, and we look forward to receiving your RFP.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Visit Our YAC Dinner Sponsors:

2023-2024 YAC Kickoff Dinner

YAC Grantmaking Since Inception

Total Nonprofits Supported: 42
Total Grants and In-Kind Gifts: $167,775


$3,000 Wilkes University
$3,000 The Jump Start Cart
$4,000 Restored Church
$5,000 Dinners for Kids, Inc.
$2,000 CASA of Luzerne County
$3,000 Family Service Association of NEPA


$5,500 Parenting Autism United
$4,500 United Way of Wyoming Valley
$4,000 NEPA Philharmonic
$3,500 Volunteers of America
$2,500 Think Big Pediatric Cancer Fund


$5,000 Domestic Violence Service Center – Playground Expansion
$5,000 Catholic Youth Center – Taste and See Program
$5,000 Catherine McAuley Center — Virtual Learning Supplies and Purchases
$1,000 Camp Koala — Scholarships


$5,000 The Wright Center for Community Health – Stratus Video Language App
$5,000 The Family Service Association of NEPA ~ Help Line/211 Service
$5,000 Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation — for the purchase of a drone to assist with watershed mapping


$5,500 F.M. Kirby Center – Sensory Friendly Theater
$5,500 PA Environment Council – Community Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program
$5,000 Mom-n-Pa Dental – Dental Program June 7 & 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena


$5,000 Family Service Association of NEPA
$5,000 Camp Orchard Hill
$5,000 The Hope Center of Wyoming Valley
$1,000 Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center


$5,000 Helping Hands Society, Bringing the Outside In
$5,000 McGlynn Center, Weekend Program
$5,000 Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, The Community Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program
$1,000 St. Joseph’s Center, medical equipment for Luzerne County Intermediate Care
$775 CASA of Luzerne County, Resource Library: Special gift of games/toys


$5,000 Hazleton Integration Project, After School Scholarship Program
$5,000 Wyoming Valley Children’s Association, SPOT On Preschool Camp
$3,500 YMCA of Wilkes-Barre, Tasty Thursday Program
$2,500 Women’s Resource Center, Safe Housing Program


$5,000 Children’s Service Center, Music Intervention
$5,000 Ruth’s Place, Staff Expansion
$3,000 Cori’s Place, Mind & Body
$3,000 The United Way of Wyoming Valley, Success by 6


$5,000 CASA of Luzerne County, CASA Training Classes
$5,000 Volunteers in Medicine, A Healthy Smile for a Healthy Start
$5,000 Wyoming Valley Children’s Association, Multi-Sensory Room
$1,000 Marlee’s Mission, Scholarships
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