NEW BRITAIN – As the youngest members ever to create an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, the New Britain Youth Council is losing no time to give back to the city they love.
As one of the youth leaders who spearheaded the process, Analise Jones, 12, said creating the fund was important to her because she hopes to advance change for her peers.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the process to create this fund,” she said.
The endowment fund, aptly titled as “New Britain Youth Leads” was created through the collaboration of the eight-member youth council and the foundation in over a handful of weeks. It was one of the fastest turnarounds the foundation ever experienced and Foundation President David Obedzinski said he was impressed with the vision the students have.
“We’re so proud of them to be a part of the foundation’s family because not only are they fulfilling our mission of encouraging philanthropy, this is also their legacy of wanting to make a difference in their community,” he said. “We’ve never had a group like this and it’s so cool that they’re investing in what they believe in.”
Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain works to inspire philanthropic work in its four-town service areas, including Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington.
The New Britain Youth Council was formed in January 2020 under the umbrella of NB Recovers, which includes city initiatives for substance use prevention and youth prevention. The youth council involves members from across the city’s middle schools and high school for each school to have at least one representative.
During a youth council meeting Monday night, the council and the foundation made it official by finalizing the endowment fund paperwork through a “signing ceremony.” The New Britain Youth Leads fund will be used solely in the field of youth pro-social activities in New Britain and the board of directors, also youth council members, will make grants from the fund in that field.
The fund was also kicked started with $550 that the students raised by selling concessions during the city’s Summer Concert Series.
Mallory Deprey, city director of Community Services Office said the students came up with the idea, started the process, and finished by signing their names on the dotted line through diligent work and ongoing discussions between the council and the Foundation.
“This has really been a process that the kids did themselves and it makes my heart melt that they are now a part of the city and the foundation’s history,” she said. “To be able to give them the feeling of being leaders, to give back, and to be a catalyst in their community has been an amazing experience.”
The foundation is also celebrating its 80th anniversary and Obedzinski said the New Britain Youth Leads fund is the first endowment fund they have established this year, giving it an extra layer of special meaning for the students.
For Omar McDew, youth advocate at New Britain Youth and Family Services, he said seeing the students taking initiative fills him with pride.
“I grew up in New Britain and went through the schools without having this kind of opportunity,” he said. “So it makes me so happy that they have this chance and see how they want to give back. They’re great kids with good hearts and I’m excited to see how the funds will be used in the future.”
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