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Students dole out $20k in grants from Watertown-based Tufts Health Plan Foundation

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  May 3, 2013 04:40 PM

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Seventeen students from many different local high schools doled out a cumulative $20,000 from the Watertown-based Tufts Health Plan Foundation to three Boston-area nonprofits focusing on improving the lives of older adults at a ceremony this week.

The grant-giving ceremony also signified the culmination of a 10-session course that teaches high schoolers about the process of finding and funding local nonprofits.

Part of this year's Future Philanthropists program, the students chose to give $10,000 to the Action for Boston Community Development to reimburse senior citizens who travel to elementary and pre-schools for tutoring; $8,000 to Shelter Music Boston to provide classical music concerts for Boston’s homeless older adults; and $2,000 to Generations Incorporated to increase access to physical activities for older people.

The ceremony took place Wednesday, during which the students who participated in the weekly leadership initiative presented checks to the organizations.

As part of the Future Philanthropists program, the students learned what nonprofits do and why they exist, including how to conduct research, read a budget, and make a presentation. They were then tasked with undertaking a full grant process, including proposal reviews and site visits, and were allotted $20,000 from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to award as grants to organizations focused on improving the lives of older adults.

Students hailed from both public and denominational schools, including Cristo Rey Boston High School in Dorchester, Gann Academy in Waltham, Lexington Christian Academy and Watertown High School as well as the civic group Boston Young Muslims Engaging.

“I never thought I would be so passionate about something like this,” said Ligia Flores, a junior at Cristo Rey Boston High School, in a statement from the foundation. “It makes me feel proud to know I’m helping out my community by giving money to organizations that will put it to good use.”

Now in its second year, the program is a collaboration between the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and the Boston area nonprofit Future Philanthropists. It is designed to engage and empower youth to work collectively to serve older adults through philanthropy.

For more information, visit the program's website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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