Home » Events » Youth Philanthropy: From Beneficiary to Active Agent

Youth Philanthropy: From Beneficiary to Active Agent

December 11th, 2018
9:00AM to 10:30AM
Philanthropy Massachusetts, 133 Federal Street, Suite 802, Boston, MA
Grantmaker, Philanthropic Advisor
Event type:
Philanthropic trends
Base fee:

In recent years, more foundations, schools, and neighborhood institutions have come to understand that young people are well positioned to make informed decisions about community needs both now and in the future that belongs to them. As a result, the practice of youth philanthropy has emerged in hundreds of communities and organizations across the United States. Broadly defined, youth philanthropy provides young people money and mentorship to directly fund nonprofit organizations.

This 90-minute program explores this landscape, elevates best practices and describes the long-term benefits of youth philanthropy for young people. Done well with attention to diversity, equity and inclusion, youth philanthropy is a practice with the potential to make the grantmaking sector more democratic, accessible and responsive.This program includes a brief presentation and a panel discussion with youth philanthropists and their adult supporters. 


Sheryl Seller, Assistant Director, Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy 


Jamie SemelPrograms and Administrative Associate, Philanthropy Massachusetts 


Devin Kelly, Youth For Community Improvement Member, Greater Worcester Community Foundation 

Jules LeBlanc, Program Director, Waltham Boys and Girls Club

Anna Sebunnya, Education Coordinator, Waltham Boys and Girls Club

Sarah Shugrue, Program Officer, Greater Worcester Community Foundation 


Devin Kelly is a junior at Grafton High School. He is the Co-Vice President of Grafton High’s DECA chapter and Vice President of Grafton’s Model United Nations Club. Devin loves to travel and most recently stayed in Peru for one month, teaching English at a Lima high school. This is his second year participating in the Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s program “Youth For Community Improvement” (YCI). His favorite part of being a second year member is guiding first year members, and learning from the unique perspectives that they bring to discussions.

Jules LeBlanc graduated from Lasell College in 2012 with a degree in Psychology and focus on Adolescence. During her time at Lasell, she completed her internship at the Waltham Boys & Girls Club, working in the Teen Center. After graduating, she was hired as the Teen Director and in 2013 she was awarded Best Teen Program by the Yankee Chapter of Boys & Girls Clubs. Jules has also been involved with an international peace building organization for 5 years, working directly with teenagers from countries in conflict including Northern Ireland, Israel and Uganda. In 2014 Jules ventured out and became the Director of an after school program for the Needham Housing Authority. She has since returned to the Boys & Girls Club as the full time Program Director overseeing programs and working with Waltham Public Schools.

Anna Sebunnya is one of the many staff who is a Waltham Boys & Girls Club alum. As a Club member, she was involved in the Tiger Shark Swim Team, youth philanthropy and the teen leadership program, Keystone. Currently, she is the resident Americorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow and serves as  Education Coordinator at the Club. Before this role, Anna worked as a Camp Counselor over the summers and as a Group Leader for the After School Program. Along with working at the Club, Anna is also finishing her college degree. She is very excited to bring fun STEM programming to the Club through Robotics, App Lab, and Mad Science. In her free time, Anna likes to make crafts, film vlogs, and play around with editing programs like Adobe, Photoshop, and Indesign. She hopes to bring her outside interests to the Education program, Magazine Club, and her Fine Arts programs.

Sheryl Seller is Sillerman’s Assistant Director, with responsibilities including directing Sillerman's youth philanthropy project, management of Sillerman Center Fellowships, and coordination of Sillerman events and communications. She also sits on the Steering Committee of the Social Justice Funders Network, where she collaborates with other social justice funders to execute informative events and learnings particularly around racial justice funding. She has a strong background in marketing and communications, and is passionate about leveraging those skills to increase social justice philanthropy. Sheryl also holds a TEFL certificate, has worked as an adult ESOL instructor, and has been nationally recognized for her commitment to volunteerism. She holds an MA in Global Studies with a concentration in Immigration Patterns and Policy, and a BA in Global Studies and Hispanic Studies, both from Brandeis University.  

Sarah Shugrue has served as a Program Officer at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation since 2016. Prior to the foundation, she built a strong foundational knowledge of program implementation, capacity building and youth development serving in roles at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest and Mass Mentoring Partnership along with completing a year of service in AmeriCorps. At the foundation, she brings this knowledge to her work where she oversees several field of interest funds, implements the Leadership Worcester program in partnership with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, staffs the Nonprofit Support Center and of course serves as a guide to the Youth for Community Improvement (YCI) program. In its 19th year, YCI is a completely youth led regional teen grantmaking program where young people spend 12 weeks together gaining a deeper understanding of their community, becoming more empowered in their role as change agents and awarding over $20,000 annually in grants. She is a current class member of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s core certificate program and has a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University.

Jamie Semel serves as Philanthropy Massachusetts's Programs and Administrative Associate. As a youth, she served for 11 years as an original member of the Junior Board of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation in California, founded to engage the next generation. She represented the foundation at conferences and on webinars to speak about youth engagement in philanthropy. In her role, she supported the planning of the first Youth on Board conference that further developed into Youth Philanthropy Connect, where she then served as a Fellow and Leadership Team Member. Prior to Philanthropy MA, Jamie worked as a Programs Assistant at the Office of the Arts at Brandeis University, assisting in the programming of the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts; served as Concierge Manager, Box Office Manager and Volunteer at the Hollywood Fringe Festival; and most recently as House Manager and Box Office Associate at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston. She received her BA in Theater Arts, and a minor in Environmental Studies at Brandeis University. 

This program is presented in partnership with the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy located at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. 

Registration type: 
Normal registration

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Going Green: In our continued efforts to Go Green in the office, our first step is providing a water station in our conference room for use at our programs, replacing bottled water. You may use your own personal beverage container or cups will be made available. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

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