The Fund for Santa Barbara’s Youth Making Change program is a yearlong, youth-led grant-making program launched in 2008 to provide young people with the opportunity to engage directly in organized philanthropy.

Board members are youths ages 13 to 19. Each YMC board (one in Santa Maria and one in Santa Barbara) gives out a total of $10,000 in grants of various sizes ($500 to $5,000) to projects that address issues and challenges directly affecting youth in Santa Barbara County.

Youth Making Change is seeking applicants for the 2011-12 Youth Making Change boards. Are you (or do you know) a young person who wants to make positive change in the community? We are looking for energetic and opinionated young people to join the 2011-12 YMC boards.

Applications are available now and are due by Tuesday, May 31. Click here to download an application, or pick up one at either the Santa Maria or Santa Barbara office of The Fund for Santa Barbara.

Who Can Apply?

Santa Barbara County youths ages 13 to 19 who want to: (1) work with other youths to make decisions about where money to help young people goes, (2) help youth and their communities, (3) learn about grant-making, program planning and group decision-making, and (4) gain important leadership experience, work in groups, express opinions and have fun.

Who Gets Selected?

The goal is for each 15-member board to be reflective of the youths in the county. Youths are selected from different neighborhoods, schools, grades, academic levels and life experiences. Youths are encouraged to apply regardless of race, gender, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, physical/mental ability, ethnicity, language spoken or immigration status.

Time Commitment

Board membership runs from July 2011 to June 2012. More details may be found in the application.

$300 Stipend

The program is voluntary, but YMC members get a $300 stipend for participating in recognition of their time commitment. The stipend is based on participation throughout the board term.

For More Information

Questions may be directed to Cristina González, The Fund for Santa Barbara’s program manager, at 805.922.1707 or

The Fund for Santa Barbara is a nonprofit community foundation that supports organizations working for social, economic, environment and political change in Santa Barbara County. Since its inception in 1980, it has awarded more than $4 million to more than 800 projects.

— Geoff Green is executive director of The Fund for Santa Barbara.