Like any successful foundation or philanthropist would, the students at Washington Academy adjusted their approach to the JOY process to ensure their grants were creating
the greatest impact within the community. This year, the students decided to “adopt” a local nonprofit in order to get closer to a chosen grantee and the issues faced in the community. They asked each nonprofit that had ever responded to an rfp in the past to answer one simple question, “How does your service help local children?”
After reviewing responses the JMG students “adopted” the Machias Food Pantry and immediately set to work to match the $1000 Unity grant by holding student dress days where students pay to wear hats, jeans, team shirts, shorts, etc. to school. The Unity Foundation often issues Matching or Challenge grants as they not only increase the dollar value of a contribution, they lead to greater community investment and participation in solving local challenges.
Rather than accept the grant at a local restaurant ceremony, food pantry director, Ken Varien invited the JMG students to “lunch” – at the food pantry. The students saw firsthand how food is collected, stored and prepared for those in need – and they learned the economics of volume food purchasing: one donated dollar can generally purchase about $5 worth of food through the Good Shepherd Food Bank.
Foregoing a ceremony helped the students learn the ins and outs of local hunger and how their adopted agency, the Machias Food Pantry, helps.