Junior Philanthropy: Seacology's Youngest Donors
Philanthropy can be cultivated from a young age, whether in the form of a lemonade stand to raise money for team baseball equipment or walking door to door collecting pennies for a fundraising drive. Some recent young donors to Seacology are inspiring me to dig in my own pockets this holiday season:
Since 1998 Huff Elementary School in Mountain View, CA has been raising money for Seacology. This past year I had the honor of giving a presentation to the fifth grade students at Huff, and I was impressed with their knowledge of Seacology and their enthusiasm for our projects. The students presented me with their donations, collected from parents, friends, and neighbors who sponsored their walk-a-thon. Huff Elementary's annual donations total almost $13,000 and are a true inspiration.
On this model Seacology recently launched an Adopt-an-Island program for teachers and their students. This free program is dedicated to promoting youthful giving and facilitating environmental education in the classroom to increase awareness about environmental threats to islands.
Students from the Cayman Islands and Fiji in front of a Seacology-funded school in Naikorokoro, Fiji.
This month at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, an anticipated $1million in pennies will be on display as part of Common Cent's Penny Harvest. The annual event turns grade school children into active fundraisers, and the kids from P.S. 31 in Bayside, New York have chosen Seacology as their grant recipient. In Vincent Mallozzi's New York Times article "A Walkway Paved With Pennies," Penny Harvest founder Teddy Gross explains his motivation for the fundraising event: "What this is really about is trying to give young students a measure of autonomy and group determination, the ability to make their own decisions." Mr Mallozzi's article discusses the annual event, now in its seventeenth year, and the architectural coordination of the Penny Lane installation. I love that the vision of the Penny Harvest gives children the reassurance that their actions and opinions matter.
Last month Seacology received a $500 gift from a young girl, Tori, who recently became a bat mitzvah. Tori's donation exhibits the true sense of the Hebrew term tzedakah, a monetary form of social action based on religious obligation to perform philanthropic acts. We are honored that Tori chose Seacology as a recipient of her charity to mark her special occasion.
These young donors represent the youngest voices in philanthropy and a bright future for these children to become active and engaged in their communities--as well as supporters of islands in remote parts of the world.