WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation’s 2020-21 Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge is now open to students.

The challenge, which seeks to engage seventh- and eighth-graders in learning about their communities while they compete for an opportunity to award $500 grants to local nonprofit organizations of their choices, is made possible by donors to the Community Foundation’s Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund and a major gift from an individual donor.

This is the fourth year of the program. Students presently attending seventh and eighth grades in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties are eligible to compete for a share of $10,000 in total grant awards. Twenty students will be selected to each present a $500 grant to a charitable organization of their choice. The initiative aims to have students explore their view of “community” and select a charitable organization for a grant award that makes their community a great place to live. To enter in the competition, students must complete an essay-based application in writing.

“Ongoing efforts to create a greater sense of community and civic pride through all generations is vitally important. The north country has a great tradition of thoughtful citizenship and this is one way we can reinforce its meaning,” Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director, said in a statement. “The community the next generation will inherit is something we must continue to work to improve. We hope this program will inspire students to be more intentional about how they can have a voice in shaping that future.”

In its first three years, 63 students were selected to present 59 grants totaling $30,000 to 51 different nonprofit organizations that serve tri-county residents.

Applications are available online at nnycf.org/givingchallenge, at local schools or at the Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown. Students selected to award grants in previous years are not eligible to enter.

Entries must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Community Foundation no later than Friday, Nov. 20. A grant review committee will judge all entries and determine 20 winning students to present grant awards. Eligible recipient organizations must be nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence counties.

Contact Kraig Everard, Community Foundation director of stewardship and programs, at 315-782-7110, or kraig@nnycf.org, to learn more about the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge.

An announcement of the winning submissions and grant awards will be made in early January.

A Community Foundation representative will then contact winning students to schedule them to personally visit their chosen organization, learn more about their work and mission and present their grant award.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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