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Impact 100 NYC’s high school initiative fosters the next generation of change-makers

Impact 100 NYC launched nextgen, a program that will give high schoolers hands-on social impact experience across the city. (Photo courtesy of Impact 100 NYC)

Impact 100 NYC, an all-women all-volunteer membership organization dedicated to transforming New York City communities through lasting impact, has launched nextgen — a program that will give high schoolers hands-on social impact experience.

Open to all eighth through 12th graders from any New York City high or home school, nextgen members will learn and practice grant-making and fundraising, participate in community service and meet like-minded do-gooders from across the city.

Each nextgen member contributes time to grant committees and each step of the start-to-finish grant-making cycle — reviewing applications, selecting finalists, conducting site visits and voting on the grant recipient — and has the option to join in community service projects.

The nextgen leadership team members are themselves teens who were inspired by their mothers, founders and founding members of Impact 100 NYC.

Rae Ades, a high school senior and founding member from Queens, got a taste of working with a nonprofit organization a few years ago, which inspired the idea for nextgen. Along with a friend, Ades started a program that encouraged kids to donate their allowance or part-time job earnings to buy supplies and make and donate sandwiches for the nonprofit organization, One Sandwich at a Time.

“We started to learn more about how nonprofit organizations work and the good things they do in our community,” Ades said. “[Our] moms founded Impact 100 NYC for women to put donations together to give large impactful grants and we thought, ‘Teens can do this too,’ so we founded nextgen.”

Teen members of nextgen volunteering around the city. (Photo courtesy of Impact 100 NYC)

Their mission is to introduce the next generation to the needs in the community and the organizations working to meet those needs, as well as discover how everyone can join together to make an impact.

Amanda Cavaliero, a college senior from Manhattan who attends University of North Carolina and is Impact 100 NYC’s youngest board member, will serve as nextgen’s mentor.

“By joining nextgen, members work together to make an impact in our communities,” said Cavaliero. “Our aim is that the nextgen members will become lifelong philanthropists.”

The areas the group is looking to impact include advocacy and social justice; pets and animals; arts and culture; children and family; civic engagement; climate change and environment; community building; education, equity and equality; girls and women; hunger and nutrition; LGBTQ+; social and human services.

Modeled on Impact 100 NYC’s collective approach to philanthropy, which aggregates individual donations into high-impact grants, the goal is to have 100 teen members each donate or raise $100, which is then combined into a $10,000 grant awarded to one NYC non-profit organization. Impact 100 NYC received a generous grant to provide scholarships and will also provide mentors and guides to raise funds.

According to Ades, the teen leadership board has been holding development meetings for over a year now, and they are currently in the process of getting started with membership.

“It’s our goal to have 100 kids in eighth to 12th grade who each have to raise $100 so we can pool our donations to make a larger impact on an amazing local charity,” she said. “It’s not just about the money — we are going to all have the opportunity to do hands-on work with nonprofit organizations.”

Along with Ades, nextgen’s other founders include Jesse Cavaliero from Manhattan and Diego Griffin and Leila Griffin, who are both from Brooklyn. Together, they kicked off the initiative with a street clean-up, the first of bi-monthly acts of kindness the group plans to organize.

Teen members of nextgen volunteering around the city. (Photo courtesy of Impact 100 NYC)

Since its inception, nextgen has already made and donated sandwiches to homeless shelters, organized a street clean-up, collected ties for an all-boys school for boys from underserved communities and planted daffodils for the 9/11 memorial. They also plan to help with a turkey drive and a toy drive during the holiday season.

“I’m excited to learn more about the organizations seeking grant funding in NYC and hear about all the amazing work they are doing to improve lives in our city,” Ades said. “I know that being part of nextgen will be a fun and meaningful way to learn about the nonprofits and meet like-minded teens looking to do good in our community.”

Nextgen welcomes anyone who wants to join.

“We are a very inclusive group,” Ades said. “We have even been able to get sponsors to provide fellowships in case kids have difficulty raising the $100.”

To live up to their mission of collective giving and collaborative action, Impact 100 NYC annually bestows an Innovation Grant of $100,000 to at least one nonprofit operating within the five boroughs of NYC for the benefit of city residents and communities.

In its inaugural year, Impact 100 NYC awarded $147,000 in grants in May 2021 to four New York City nonprofit organizations, which included its first-ever Innovation Grant of $102,000 to Fiver Children’s Foundation, a comprehensive youth development organization that makes a 10-year commitment to children from underserved communities throughout New York City and central New York.

Additionally, three finalists, George Jackson Academy, Reaching Out Community Services and Youth Represent, were recognized for meeting critical needs and providing vital services, and each were awarded a $15,000 general operating grant to help further their missions.

To become a member of nextgen or for additional information, visit www.impact100nyc.org or contact nextgen@impact100nyc.org. The deadline to join is Dec. 31. Details to apply for a $100,000 Innovation Grant or a $10,000 nextgen grant are also available on their website.

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