Each year, the Seattle Aquarium’s youth philanthropy team, composed of teens from its Youth Ocean Advocates (YOA) volunteer program, grants at least $5,000 to organizations pursuing work in line with the Aquarium's mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. The grants are funded with money raised at the Aquarium’s face-painting booth, which is staffed by teen volunteers.
The five members of the youth philanthropy team met three times to discuss the organizations and causes worthy of funding this year. In the process, they learned about nonprofits, funding structures, giving practices, and how to research organizations. Staff grant writer Adrienne Fox supported the group, graciously sharing her expertise on grant writing and philanthropy.
For this year’s awards, the teens chose projects focused restoring habitat, protecting endangered species, or addressing plastics pollution. The group researched organizations doing work in these realms of conservation and selected four organizations/projects to receive gifts of $1,250 each.
- Puget Sound Restoration Fund's Olympia oyster restoration project
- Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire's work planting coral trees in the Caribbean
- SeaShepherd's work to save the vaquita
- Surfrider Foundation's "Rise Above Plastic" campaign
The youth volunteers believed the four projects align with their own work as ocean advocates.
Since 2013, Youth Ocean Advocates have donated $32,200 to conservation causes around the world.