The Moffat County Youth United Way, along with programs in Rio Blanco and Routt counties, will be awarding $30,000 in grant funds to a variety of charities, organizations and clubs.
Representatives from Moffat County High School, Meeker High School and Steamboat Springs High School will be attending the grant-award ceremonies in Craig. The event is at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Each of the three high school programs raised the prerequisite $500 to receive a $9,500 matching grant from the El Pomar Foundation of Colorado Springs.
"The program is set up to educate kids about non-profits, grants and grant reviews," said Corrie Scott, Moffat County United Way executive director and Youth United Way coordinator. "It's exactly like the United Way but on a smaller scale you raise money, review requests for grants and give the money out."
The youth group makes all the decisions about where the money should go and how much an organization should receive, Scott said. Of the $10,000, up to $2,500 can be awarded within the group's school district.
The El Pomar Foundation established the El Pomar Youth in Community Service in 1991 as a leadership program that "empowers high school students to directly impact their community through involvement in service, philanthropy and the non-profit sector," according to the EPYCS handbook. This year, the EPYCS will award a total of $1.13 million to non-profit organizations.
The students involved in a Youth United Way/El Pomar organization survey asked the student body of their high school to identify issues that the school community wants to address. For MCHS, those issues were youth, education and seniors programs. The program will grant money to bring programs like a workshop on tolerance to the school district, help fund a preschool program or support a local organization like The Independent Life Center.
"All the agencies we are funding are amazing," EPYCS Chairman Kellie Dodds said. "With our group, one of the most exciting things we get to fund is the national (shooters) group this is just starting out. It could grow a lot and its exciting to be able to help them get started. We're all really enthusiastic about helping them put this together."
Dodds first became involved in the local EPYCS organization because of an interest in volunteerism, but now wants to work in the philanthropic field in some capacity, she said.
For Meeker High School, which also qualified for the $9,500 matching grant, recreational opportunities and education were the most prevalent concerns of the student body, said Susan Goettel, sponsor of the EPYCS program at