Students from six area El Pomar Youth in Community Service clubs presented nonprofit organizations with grants May 16 at the Steamboat Grand Resort and Conference Center.
EPYCS students awarded representatives from 33 nonprofits with $48,000 in grants.
Participating EPYCS high schools include Moffat County, Hayden, Lowell Whiteman, Meeker, Soroco and Steamboat Springs.
In each high school, an EPYCS club operates as a "mini foundation" by creating a mission statement, raising funds and making grants decisions. EPYCS students prepare for their role as grantmakers by learning about four key areas throughout the school year: leadership, philanthropy, community service and the nonprofit sector.
Each club raises a minimum of $500 and receives an additional $7,500 from El Pomar Foundation to recognize and reward the work of local nonprofit organizations.
"EPYCS is unlike any high school program offered. Rather than raising money for their own operation, they have the opportunity to raise money for a cause larger than themselves or their schools," said Anita Allen, EPYCS coordinator of El Pomar Foundation.
Although the majority of funds are awarded to nonprofits whose mission statements coincide with the granting club's mission, up to $2,500 can be used to fund programs in the club's school district. Moffat County EPYCS students chose to support after-prom activities.
Each year, an outstanding school of the region is selected by El Pomar Foundation staff. This year's recipient is the EPYCS Club of Meeker High School.
The EPYCS program is sponsored by Colorado Springs-based El Pomar Foundation and is one of the nation's largest youth philanthropy programs, currently operating in 140 high schools statewide. This year, EPYCS students will grant more than $1.2 million through EPYCS.
Since the program's inception in 1991, students have granted $9.4 million to more than 5,000 Colorado nonprofits.
"As we enter the 16th year of this program, the Trustees of El Pomar are pleased to see the results of their ongoing investment come to fruition as many former EPYCS students, now adults, are stepping into leadership roles to direct philanthropic efforts on behalf of their local communities," said William J. Hybl, chairman and CEO of El Pomar Foundation.