Involving Leelanau Township youth in philanthropy

  2017/18 Youth Advisory Council members

2017/18 Youth Advisory Council members

As a community foundation, we give oversight to the Leelanau Township Community Foundation Youth Endowment Fund, a local fund established through a challenge grant many years ago.

The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a group of local high school students who learn the basics of philanthropy through making decisions on grant applications for those Youth Endowment Funds. In 2017, YAC was able to give additional support to the Northport Youth Sailing School for scholarships, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum for their Shipwreck Exhibition, and the National Arts Honors Society for supplies - to name a few.

We are impressed by the depth of review given by the students on each request. They quickly become skilled at identifying the critical questions to ask and in seeing where the greatest benefit to the community exists. 

Find out more about the activities of YAC at the Northport Youth Advisory Council Facebook Page.

Youthful philanthropy making a difference

Leelanau Township Community Foundation's Youth Advisory Council has awarded over $100,000 in grants since 1996. All grants are focused on providing benefits to the youth of our community. Not surprisingly many of these awards have gone to the Northport Public School to fund special programs - everything from drug-free schools to senior projects to yearbook publication.

While it's expected that young philanthropists would focus on the place that touches them most deeply, these youthful benefactors also donated to the town's Sesquicentennial Celebration, the Discovery Center, the Leelanau Children's Center, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, the Leelanau County Family Coordinating Council, the Family Independence Agency, and the Northport Area Skateboard Association. Annual contributions to community projects have varied from $300 to as high as $14,000 - which confirms that young people in our community are well able to handle the challenges and responsibilities of planning and helping to fund the future of Leelanau Township.

To learn more about the Youth Advisory Council, call (231) 386-9000 or email the LTCF's Executive Director at

Jennifer Walter, Youth Advisory Council Advisor

Jennifer Walter has ties to Leelanau County that extend back over 100 years when her great-great grandfather Jon Hommelstad arrived in Port Oneida from Norway in 1883. She and her husband Steve Paciorka moved to Northport in 2009 when he accepted a position with Sterling Law Office out of Empire. Before accepting a teaching position at Northport Public School in 2011, Jennifer served as a trustee on the Northport Public School Board. She spent six years teaching middle school language arts in Chandler, Arizona and four years teaching high school English in Owosso, Michigan. She and Steve has two children who attend Northport Public School. 

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