Youth Advisory Council Fully Funds 3 New Grants

Every month, up to 15 teenagers from across Columbus volunteer their time for the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) to hear grant requests at the Columbus Medical Association building. Their meeting this past Tuesday was fully booked. YAC heard three different grant presentations and decided whether or not to fund the proposals.  

The Columbus Medical Association Foundation formed YAC in 2001 with the goal of developing the next generation of healthcare philanthropists. The grants they hear and vote on are all focused on youth health issues. YAC has awarded nearly $240,000 in grants directed to those issues since its inception. 

Thell Robinson presenting

The first grant the council heard was for a program called Halt Violence run by Thell Robinson. Halt Violence is a nonprofit that offers conflict resolution, early intervention, education and development services to youth and young adults. Robinson asked for $2,000 to continue with his campaign to inform the public about the program using billboards and radio ads as well as other needs for the business.

The YAC members were impressed with Robinson and the proven track record Halt Violence has. Some of the teens on the council had been affected by violence and knew from personal experience this program was good for the community. When it came time to vote they, unanimously fully funded the grant.

Rev. Norman Brown addressing YAC

Next up, was Rev. Norman Brown, presenting his grant request for a horticultural therapy urban farm. Brown was representing the J. Jireh Development Corporation, an organization focused on improving the quality of life in the East Main Street community of Columbus. Brown informed YAC that J. Jireh had just renovated a home in his community that was to be used as a rehabilitation home for women and planned to create a large garden in the back yard. This garden would be used as horticultural therapy for the women in the home as well as provide fresh produce to the community. Brown’s plan for the grant money was for garden needs such as dirt, seeds and tools. After a quick debate on whether all the garden needs were, in fact, necessary, YAC fully funded Brown’s $1,700 request.

Angela Ramos Fields and her son, Grant.

Angela Ramos Fields was last to present her request for her organization, Emerging Autism Solutions’ upcoming basketball camp event. Fields informed the group that this annual basketball event gives autistic individuals a chance to learn a new activity and socialize with others. The camp also allows parents or caretakers of these individuals to see their loved ones do things they didn’t know they could.

Fields presented with her son, Grant, who is on the autism spectrum. Many of the council members had never met an autistic person before and Grant’s presence gave them a new perspective as to why and how an event like this would benefit the community. The funds that Fields requested would go for basketballs and information packets for each participant to take home as well as gift card incentives for the parents and caretakers. The council members debated the merits of gift cards for this event but in the end the majority decided they were needed, and the $2,000 grant was approved.

To learn more about YAC please visit:

Giving BackAnnie Wilson