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Unity -

UNITY, Maine –  National Philanthropy Day is observed in November around the country by state and regional chapters of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In Maine, this month signals that more than 3,300 teens are ready to launch their fourth year of local grantmaking through the Maine-grown Jumpstart Our Youth (JOY) program. Nonprofits serving both statewide needs like Ronald McDonald House to those narrowly focused on school needs like Milo’s Blessings in a Backpack are preparing to submit online funding applications to the 63 Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) sites across the state where the JOY Program is part of the school curriculum.

Created by the Unity Foundation of Unity, Maine and co-funded by the Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF) and UniTel, Inc., the JOY program teaches students how to support their local communities with “smart” donations — $1000 grants – and to lend the “sweat equity” that so many nonprofits depend upon to feed the hungry, prevent domestic abuse, care for sick children and collect toys for needy families at the holidays.

“Before long, this generation of Mainers will be running local nonprofits, serving on community and agency boards and working in local and state government,” says Larry Sterrs, CEO of Unity Foundation, “and after building JOY for three years we can say they have the key experience needed to eventually take those roles on. Students better understand the root of community problems and how to develop and fund the solutions; they learn to ask if and how an approach is working and most importantly, they will stay involved in improving Maine’s community as they grow up.”

During the 2010-11 school year, JOY granted $63,200 across Maine to 110 organizations in 51 Maine towns. Students contributed 21,000 hours of volunteer time. Since the launch of JOY three years ago, students have donated close to $172,000 and volunteered more than 54,000 hours. The budding philanthropists learn how difficult it is to choose worthy grant recipients, allocate limited financial support and track how the grant funds are used. And many of JMG’s students are more than familiar with the local services and support organizations requesting funds; their families and friends may have benefited from local programs.

Nonprofits in communities whose middle and/or high schools host a JMG program may contact the local program for grant application details.  For more information, call 775-2673 or email Hartnett@maine.rr.com.

For More Information:

Contact Name: Catharine Hartnett

Telephone Number: (207)775-2673

Website: http://www.jumpstartouryouth.org

Email: Hartnett@maine.rr.com