Social Venture Kids Preps the Next Generation of Philanthropists
Teens learn all sorts of ways to pitch in at Social Venture Kids.
Teenagers aren’t exactly known for their ability to put others first, but Social Venture Kids is showing that teens can be great philanthropists. The goal is “getting them to become change-makers,” says Willow Russell, a spokeswoman for the program.
Seattle Venture Kids helps teens select a worthy social challenge, raise donations, and use those to fund organizations working on their chosen problem. The group includes 6 to 10 high school students from Seattle and Bellevue, and raises about $10,000 each year, which is passed on to multiple charities.
Social Venture Kids is offered through SVP, a nonprofit that helps donors pool their philanthropic resources to support groups solving social issues. In past years, most of the teens have been from families who are SVP participants, but SVP has begun working to recruit kids outside of the organization to add more diverse perspectives.
Past causes funded by the kids include teen drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, teen depression and suicide, domestic violence, the juvenile justice system, quality preschool and daycare for low-income families, environmental issues, and homelessness.
“My experience with SVK changed the way I think about social justice issues and activism,” says Sophie Ding, now a student at New York University who participated in the program in all four of her years at Shorecrest High School. “[It] was with SVK that I was able to learn how complex the field of philanthropy is, how it works, what kinds of systems are in place, and how I can most efficiently do my part.” Ding said by email.
Further information about Social Venture Kids can be found at their website, including information about their current projects, and how to participate. For younger kids looking to do their part, check out the Kids Helping Kids campaign—the program was started by 5 year old Rena Mateja to raise money to support homeless children.