In the summer of 2017, 100 Hoosier teens from across Indiana built skills in giving and serving at three youth philanthropy workshops. The workshops were presented by Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana (YPII) as part of their Better Together Summits. The full-day trainings took place from June to September in Indianapolis, Columbia City and Underwood.

Connected through foundations, youth councils, and schools, these teens were joined by 66 adult mentors who work with them to develop talents in philanthropy, teamwork and leadership. The YPII Better Together Summits not only provided a space to connect with others making positive impacts in Indiana communities, they offered a variety of learning opportunities for both youth and adults.

When asked about their favorite part of Better Together, one inspired young person said, “I loved meeting others that share my passion for helping, as it feeds my fire for sticking with it.” Another commented, “I think the low ropes course was very beneficial to everyone. It displayed logical problem solving, listening and teamwork skills.”

While interactive teambuilding exercises fueled Better Together’s energy, breakout sessions dug into topics of grantmaking, community partnerships, equity and inclusion. Topics on fundraising and service projects were also featured. In fact, seven local nonprofits benefited from donations brought by attendees, including humane societies, food pantries and refugee support.

Former YPII Director Jill Gordon was encouraged by the large showing, saying, “It was exciting to witness the energy and passion of 166 youth leaders and adult mentors at the three “Better Together” summits in Central, Southern and Northeast Indiana. Indiana’s youth philanthropists are leaders making a difference in each of their communities. They’re sharing ideas to have greater impact on the philanthropic future of our state.”

Speakers at Better Together included former young philanthropist and current Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy students, uLEAD staff, the Joseph Maley Foundation’s Junior Board, members of the Dekko Foundation’s phish leadership programJanet Wakefield of The JourneySkye Berger, and others.

Better Together Summits took place at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, Country Lake Christian Retreat in Underwood, and the Peabody Public Library in Columbia City.

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Resources Shared at Summits