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United Way Youth Philanthropy & Leadership Workshop

The United Way of Southwest Alabama Youth Philanthropy & Leadership Workshop is to increase the organizational planning and volunteerism capacity of young leaders. This workshop is for high school students who are interested in philanthropy, community service, and volunteerism.

You may register on behalf of your high school club or organization; however, you do not have to belong to any student organization to participate.

Workshop Goals

  • Let young voices be heard – We are interested in learning about the social causes prioritized by youth philanthropists and leaders.
  • Provide virtual training on organizational planning and volunteer management.
  • Encourage young leaders to utilize Volunteer Connect for service projects.
  • Develop support channels for youth philanthropists and services organizations.


More – Generation Z, who currently range in age from 8 to 23, is a particularly important group to reach right now. They have come of age during the aftermath of the Great Recession, mass school shootings, a shockingly divisive political environment and now a pandemic that has disrupted their lives in ways still to unfold. Their heightened sense of disillusionment and isolation goes against the grain of their instinctive hyper-connectedness, as the true digital natives, and their passion to be involved in the community. A recent blog by NPEngage reported that 67% of Gen. Z has volunteered in the past 12 months. It is quite evident that youth programs are needed now more than ever if we are to promote, support, and enhance the principles of democratic philanthropy and social justice.

Earlier this year, we became interested in learning more about the role United Ways are playing in providing youth programs in their local communities. In April, we reached out to hundreds of United Ways to administer a brief survey. In addition to learning about youth programs that exist, we were particularly interested in the differences between those United Ways that have a program and those that don’t, and what factors might explain the difference. We had an impressive 21% response rate, which provided for a diverse sample size based on campaign goal, staff size, and operating budget.

1 – Only 19% of the survey respondents have a program that provides a youth philanthropy experience. That’s fewer than one in five. But, when we asked those United Ways if they had ever thought about or had an interest in starting one, 73% said yes.

2 – United Ways who have a youth philanthropy program tend to be smaller. About 67 % of the respondents who operate a youth program employ 10 or fewer staff, and 83% of those have 5 or fewer staff. In addition, there appears to be a direct inverse correlation between the staff size and the interest in starting a program: the larger the staff size, the less interest is expressed.

3 – Respondents who indicated a desire to start a youth program also tend to be smaller. Nearly 68% of United Ways who do not have a program but would like to start one have operating budgets of less than $2 million. Only 11% of those with budgets of $5 million or more indicated an interest.

4 – Approximately 66% of the respondents who do not have a program cited insufficient resources as the reason. And about 52% of those respondents cited insufficient staff as the reason. Other reasons included lack of financial resources as well as staff (28%). Again, there appears to be a direct correlation between the availability of resources to start a program and staff size: the smaller the United Way, the more likely insufficient staff and budget size are the impediments to starting one. This finding was a bit perplexing since 67% of the respondents who currently have a program are United Ways that have smaller staffs and smaller budgets. 

Rick King. “Youth Philanthropy Education: United Ways Are Ready To Do More.” ThreePillars Initiative ,

Additional Resource
Getting Gen Z Primed to Save the World