Last summer, youth volunteers raised $9,146.99 through donations at their face-painting station. In the past, money raised from the station has been utilized to fund field trips and recognition efforts for youth volunteers. But this year, to educate our young volunteers and position them as Ocean Advocates, $5,000 of that money was set aside to be given away to five organizations that share the Aquarium's mission.
A Youth Philanthropy Team was established to begin the process of determining which organizations should receive a $1,000 gift. The ten-member team first learned about responsible giving and defined a set of rules by which they would identify organizations that were a good potential match. Each team member then created a report on a different ocean conservation organization, examining its conservation impact and financial responsibility. The reports were sent to all of the Aquarium’s summer youth volunteers, who then voted on which five organizations should receive a gift.
More than 70 votes were cast, and the organizations that received a $1,000 gift are:
Killer Whale Tales
Polar Bears International
Long Live the Kings
World Wildlife Fund—Coral Reef Restoration
Checks to these organizations were sent in early October, accompanied by a letter explaining how the funds were raised and the decision-making process for the gifts.
Through this effort, the Aquarium hopes to teach youth about responsible giving as a way to support ocean conservation. As youth volunteer Sarah Dupree said, "We're the ones that have to continue to live in the world we're creating. Researching and supporting marine conservation organizations inspires and empowers us to help them create a world where the ocean continues to be valued and preserved for our lifetimes and beyond."