Youth Making a Difference in the Field of Philanthropy


Sophie Schneider

Pictured left to right, Patrick Murphy and Ben Scire granted a $5,000 grant to the non-profit, Hope and Comfort, in which provides health products to people in need.

For high school students looking to better their local community, gain leadership experience, or meet new people, Youth in Philanthropy (YIP), hosted by Foundation for Metrowest, is a unique opportunity.

In 2015, the Foundation of Metrowest was able to educate 165 students who awarded a combined $87,000 to deserving organizations that year. The Foundation established the Hopkinton program in the fall of 2016.

Patrick Murphy is an alumni of the first Hopkinton YIP section.

He described YIP as a collection of 20 Hopkinton High School students who went through a 12 week program where they learned how to evaluate non-profit organizations and how to maximize their impact on the community.

The program finished with the students making a decision as to which local nonprofits would be awarded from an $11,000 allocated fund.

“Awarding the nonprofits the check, I was overwhelmed that my peers and I could have such a profound impact,” Murphy said.

Photo: Patrick Murphy taking notes at a conference table
By Sophie Schneider
Working on the recruitment committee, Patrick Murphy is tasked to get more people involved with the program.

Following the commencement of the YIP program, Murphy and several other Hopkinton alumni were inspired to join the YIP junior board to continue their philanthropic impact on their community.

“YIP really did change my life,” Ben Scire, the Co-Chair of the YIP board, said.

“It opened my eyes to all of the new opportunities that are available around Hopkinton.”

“When the YIP junior board became available, I didn’t hesitate to capitalize on an opportunity

to develop my leadership and communication skills even further,” Scire added.

The Foundation for Metrowest has come a long way since it established its first YIP program in 1997, educating and empowering 14 students to become the next generation of philanthropists and civil leaders.

Renee Quinn, Senior Philanthropy Officer for the Foundation of Metrowest who oversees the junior board said, “Back in 2014, we did an evaluation of our program and the most frequent feedback we received from alums of the program was that there wasn’t a way for them to engage with us after it ended.”

Upon reflection, the foundation decided to form the YIP junior board, giving high school students larger responsibilities in brand marketing, fundraising, and recruitment.

The junior board is a group of 22 young people in high school from a wide range of towns in the Metrowest that have completed one of the 16 YIP programs.

“These individuals wanted to stay more actively involved with the foundation and were ready for a much more mature roll,” Quinn said.

Quinn expressed how the junior board exceeded her expectations.

“I was really blown away with the fact that we have a board full of such ambitious young people helping us submit grant applications, spread our message, and evaluate our curriculum.”

The board has been so successful that it even surprised members of the foundation.

“I was just talking to someone last week on a conference call, and I told her that I always knew that the junior board would be a great asset to the foundation, but I had no idea how truly impactful it would be for us to work with such passionate young people” Quinn said.

However, Julie Williams, Program Officer for YIP at the Foundation for Metrowest, said she is rarely surprised by the initiative and drive of the students she works with.

“When you give young people a challenge, they rise to meet it,” Williams said.

Photo: Ben Scire is smiling while sitting at a conference table
By Sophie Schneider
Co-Chair of the junior board, Ben Scire spend a significant amount of time coordinating with the foundation and his larger community.

For example, Scire was asked to speak about youth involvement and impact at the Community Leadership Breakfast hosted at the Newton Marriott Hotel in front of various corporate executives who sponsor or are involved with the Foundation for Metrowest.

Scire emphasized in his speech that youth can and do have just as big of an impact as adults in the field of philanthropy.

“After speaking, so many executives came up to me and expressed how impressed they were that someone my age was able to speak and effect a community so deeply,” Scire said.

“But little did they know, there is now an entire board full of young people who share my passion for philanthropy.”

“I gained an immense amount of confidence from my time with YIP. Their emphasis on empowering young people to improve the community is incredibly valuable,” Murphy added.

“I have no doubt there are countless people at HHS who would benefit from the perspective they will gain through participating in YIP, and who can have a profound impact on our greater community as a result,” Scire said.