Youth engagement is the center of the foundation’s mission. We often talk about the connection through education or athletic participation. There is another program that is important to us. The Youth Grant Initiative was created six years ago to give 7th and 8th graders a hands-on experience in grantmaking. They learn about the community and the role of nonprofits while reading applications and making funding recommendation to the foundation’s board. In 2022 the Foundation made the decision to add an intensive program for the alumni of the Youth Grant Initiative. The alumni that joined us this year to learn more about grantmaking and to ultimately award the 2022 Bud Award are Piper Winder, Adin Joseph, Jocelyn Luong, and Avery Meyer. Here is the presentation that was put together by the alumni for the Bud Award this year.
Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to the Multnomah Athletic Foundation for providing me and my fellow peers with this opportunity to make real, tangible change in our community. So often, we are too caught up in complaining about the inequities we see or experience, that we forget to act upon them. One thing that the foundation does exceptionally well is to remind us that anyone can be a philanthropist. That as long as you make an active effort to promote the welfare of others, you are making an impact. That by simply finding or even making opportunities for others, you are laying the groundwork for progress in our society.
Access and opportunity were central ideas in both our discussions and resulting decision. For so many, cultural and economical barriers restrict water-recreation access to only those who can afford it. Leaving many people without any ability to experience the waters surrounding our city. Water is an essential building block for civilization, and it has been for millennia. It provides trade and transportation, offers food, power and protection, and continues to be a social hub, giving us access to so many recreational opportunities that can be immensely freeing.
To me, Oregon Youth Sailing Foundation programs offer opportunities that deserve more appreciation. After acknowledging the lack of diversity on the river and recognizing how many of these barriers in place are economical ones, systemically rooted into our country, they’ve created a program in which kids who might otherwise not have access to the river have the opportunity to experience the wonders of the Willamette. By providing the training and support, both mentally and financially, as well as the equipment needed to pursue sailing, they can move past those barriers and get to the core values of the club; health and connection.
By engaging in the physical exercise of managing these boats, you are working parts of your body and mind that you may have never worked before. And by being exposed to fresh air, sunlight, and the meditative rhythm of the water, your mental health can see significant positive changes as a result of this experience. Plus, sailing is all about finding a connection between both you and your fellow sailors and with nature and it’s often beautifully unpredictable temperament. This connection, to both your team and to nature is something that you can seek to find throughout your whole life, and is overall such an important lesson to learn.
A beloved MAC member, Leland Bud Lewis, passed away last year at the age of 100. He too believed that sportsmanship, access, and connection was an important aspect to the community. So in his later years, he partnered with MAF to create a grant fund. This grant funds a 2,000 dollar gift that was awarded to a previous grant recipient of the Multnomah Athletic Foundation. This award’s mission was all about fostering athletic communities for the youth. Every year, Bud would collaborate with his friends to choose a non-profit. When he passed away, the Foundation believed that in keeping with his memory, they would start the Youth Grant Initiative 2.0.
YGI 2.0 is an addition to the Youth Grant Initiative program where young athletes in the community get to help in the decision process when it comes to grant making. Instead of reviewing grant applications, we now get to see the next steps, specifically looking at grant reports. As a member of both programs, I was really inspired to see just how big of an impact my previous work had done for the community. Being able to see the numerical data provided, as well as reading those personal stories really put into perspective the work that non-profits do.
Through looking at the grant report, things that stuck out to us about Oregon Youth Sailing Foundation was the programs they provided along with the tangible impact the previous grant had provided. The Bud Award is “meant to reach beyond the field or courts” or I suppose, the sail. Not only do they provide accessibility to a very privileged sport for diverse and low income communities but they also support the students’ intellect with STEM workshops and have positions available for students once they graduate out of the program to be employed there. The MAF grant went primarily to enrollment fees which further pushes the accessibility that the Bud Award strives for, it is exciting to note that their Community Sailing Program has increased the youth they served by over 100%.
To learn more about the Youth Grant Initiative and the Bud Award visit our grants page here.