NORTHBOROUGH – UMass Amherst freshman, Algonquin Regional High School graduate and Northborough resident Sravya Tanikella has utilized lessons learned through a program known as Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) to support continuing work with the Rotary Interact Club.
The Rotary Interact Club operates as service program for 12- to 18-year-olds under the Rotary umbrella. Tanikella has been an active member for six years and is currently directing corporate sponsorship efforts for an upcoming conference organized by the group in Calgary, Canada.
“I used everything I learned from YIP as I prepared,” she said in an interview with the Community Advocate late last year.
Student joined Youth in Philanthropy
Already connected with the Rotary Club, Tanikella responded to an announcement at school in 2020 by visiting the Career Center at Algonquin and applying to Youth in Philanthropy. She was accepted to the program.
According to its website, YIP is an experiential leadership development program designed to empower and educate local youth to become our community’s next generation of philanthropists.
Operating 14 programs across MetroWest annually between September and May, YIP is one of the largest and longest-running youth philanthropy programs in the country.
It is run by the Foundation for MetroWest.
“YIP tries to increase their presence in a community and presented a wonderful way for me to get more involved in the technical aspect of philanthropy,” Tanikella said. “It’s the oldest such organization in the country that gets students engaged, creating presentations, and taking on other small tasks, including the technical aspects of grant writing.”
As Tanikella explained, “YIP training guided us through the process of knowing what to look for in a grant request, looking for the essence of the organization.”
“We learned to look at a budget in detail, make sure all the correct boxes were checked, and how to decide if an organization was staying authentic to its cause and then we met with organization representatives, all virtually,” she continued, noting precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tanikella made a grant defense presentation to the Southborough Community Fund. She did some fundraising through GoFundMe and made a video highlighting what YIP does and where the money goes for the program’s website.
At the end of Tanikella’s session, her group awarded $5,000 grants to two organizations — Horizons for Homeless Children and Doc Wayne.
“Horizons for Homeless Children is revolutionizing what it means to provide daycare for homeless children, giving parents tablets to set up during the pandemic, aiming to combat the issues of those kids always being behind, and is totally inclusive,” she said.
“Doc Wayne offers therapeutic mentoring and mental health support through sports for clients as young as six,” she continued. “Both are such worthwhile organizations.”
‘She is just what Rotary needs’
Matthew Jose, from the Foundation for MetroWest, recalls being impressed with Tanikella’s speech at the YIP graduation.
He added that he was pleased when she asked for guidance in writing a grant for the Rotary Interact conference.
“We strive to help our YIP graduates when they attempt to do something above and beyond, like this Rotary project,” Jose said. “She is just what Rotary needs — an infusion of youth.”