Initiatives & Impact

Youth Advisory Council

Want to Influence Funding in Your Community?

Find your voice for change with THCF’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC)! YAC was formed to involve young leaders in changing their communities through philanthropy. With more than 190 students, YAC carries a strong voice in the community. 

YAC is represented by the following area high schools and welcomes participation from other metro school districts: Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Center Place Restoration, Fort Osage, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North, Lee’s Summit West, Raytown, Raytown South, Truman, Van Horn and William Chrisman.

6 Perks of Being a YAC Member

  1. Review Grant Proposals—Each year, YAC members review grant proposals from programs concerned with problems like domestic violence and teen homelessness, as well as community arts programming and education. Decisions are tough but rewards are great as students change the future for their peers.
  2. Practice Philanthropy: Choose grants to receive funds from YAC’s own endowment (more at #3 below), and decide how much money to give each chosen grants.
  3. Fundraising for a Cause—Each year, YAC throws a fundraiser for their endowment fund, which helps support grants given to projects that help area youth. This year’s fundraiser, Strike in the Night-Give to Infinity and Beyond, was the best money-maker the students have held thus far. The event’s activities included bowling games, unlimited photo booth photos, and much more!
  4. Community Service—Throughout the year, YAC members are provided numerous opportunities to perform community service with our nonprofit partners. In addition to serving their communities, students experience the work of potential grant recipients and become inspired to pursue their own philanthropic goals.
  5. Leadership Opportunities—In addition to being a part of the council itself, YAC members can become a part of our leadership team. Leadership team members run team meetings, set up service opportunities, and make decisions about the direction of YAC going forward, giving each student excellent leadership experience.
  6. Scholarships—Each year, graduating YAC seniors are eligible for two scholarship awards, the Henri E. Goettel Youth in Philanthropy Award and the Elizabeth Hill McClure Scholarship Award.

How are YAC Members Selected?

Recruitment meetings are held mid-year (December & January) at each high school for those interested in becoming involved. The faculty and staff at participating high schools are very involved helping THCF determine YAC membership. Potential members are expected to demonstrate leadership potential and an interest in serving others’ needs. Students interested can contact current leadership members, shown below, at any time.

Blue Springs High School Team Leaders

Sophie Mermelstein
Brooklyn Werstein

Blue Springs South High School Team Leaders

Lexi Holder
Danielle Hotalling
Carlos Velasquez

Center Place Restoration School Team Leaders

 Lucy Lankford

Fort Osage High School Team Leaders

Megan Hall
Frannie Rodriguez
Courtney Troup

Grain Valley High School Team Leaders

Sophia Barra
Peri Donovan
Haley Francis
Becca Herz

Lee's Summit High School Team Leaders

Aiden Clark
J.T. Cornelius
Grace Stephenson

Lee's Summit North High School Team Leaders

Megan Carlson
Emily Gerber

Lee's Summit West High School Team Leaders

Kennedy Cross
Sydney Lorenz
Stephanie Richardson

Raytown High School Team Leaders

Andrew Romero
Ligia Valencia

Raytown South High School Team Leaders

Dawson Schmutzler
Elijah Washington

Truman High School Team Leaders

Angelica Johnson

Rachel Millard

Van Horn High School Team Leaders

Litzy Alvarado
Bryanna Counts

William Chrisman High School Team Leaders

Nicolette Bowman
Jennifer Soendker

How Can I Help Fund YAC?

2 Ways to Support YAC:

  1. Give to the Foundation Fan Club to help support the expenses of the YAC program.
  2. Support the Youth Advisory Council’s Annual Endowment Fundraiser. This fundraiser supports the YAC endowment fund, which helps fund projects aiding our area youth, such as providing meals in the summer for children who normally rely on school lunches to feed them.

I cherish every moment I had, especially the opportunities to go out into my community and make a difference. I wish this wasn’t my last year in this wonderful program, but I’m grateful for the time I had.”

Holly Sullivan, YAC Team Leader

Have an idea for a youth-serving program? Apply for a Community Grant 


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