Youth Advisory Council

YAC Membership Application

The Manistee County Community Foundation's Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is seeking new members for the 2023-24 school year. YAC members are students from grades 9-12 in any Manistee County high school who have an interest in learning about philanthropy (donations of time, talent, and treasure for community good), want to learn leadership skills, and who would like to be a voice for youth in their community. Members are active in researching the needs of Manistee County youth, participating in activities to grow the Foundation's Youth Endowment Fund and recommending grant recipients from the Youth Endowment that meet youth needs. YAC members meet monthly during the school year and have opportunities to participate in leadership training and community service activities.

The YAC generally meets the third Wednesday of each month from 8:30am - 10:00am. Most meetings will take place virtually, via Zoom or Google Meet. However, there are some meetings that will take place in person at the West Shore Community College Manistee Downtown Education Center (400 River Street, Manistee, MI 49660). Transportation to and from in-person meetings will be provided by Manistee County Dial-A-Ride, unless otherwise specified. There may be times when adjustments will need to be made to the meeting calendar, time, format, or transportation. If that is the case, changes will be communicated in advance.

Each year the YAC works to recruit members that are diverse and will be a positive representative of their school and community. We want to ensure that we hear the many voices and perspectives of the young people in our community and encourage youth representing any and all perspectives and identities to apply. There are no academic or other pre-requisites to participate in YAC, just a willingness to learn alongside other YAC members and be a voice for Manistee County youth! This year, the YAC is seeking members from the following grades and schools:

Bear Lake - 9th Grade Representative
Brethren - 9th Grade Representative
CASMAN - 9th, 10th, and 11th Grade Representatives
Manistee Catholic Central - 9th, 11th, and 12th Grade Representatives
Manistee High School - 9th Grade Representative
Onekama High School - 9th Grade Representative

Manistee Great Lakes Virtual Academy and homeschooled high school students who are Manistee County residents are also eligible to apply.

Interested students can contact school principals or guidance counselors for more information and to be connected with a current YAC member who can share more about their experience.

The application deadline is Sunday, November 12th, 2023. It is anticipated that selected applicants will be notified by Friday November 17th, 2023. You can access the application using the link below:

New YAC Member Application (2023-24)

If you have questions, please contact the Manistee County Community Foundation Program Officer, Hannah Rodriguez, at (231) 723-7269 or at

What is the Youth Advisory Council (YAC)?

The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) serves as the Foundation’s local panel of experts on the needs and issues that face area youth and is the advisory body to the Foundation’s Youth Endowment Fund. The YAC is comprised of high school students from each of Manistee County's six school districts. YAC members learn about philanthropy (donations of time, talent, and treasure for community good), build leadership skills and provide a voice for youth in our community. The YAC is active in assessing the needs of Manistee County youth, participates in fund development activities to grow the Foundation's Youth Endowment Fund and recommends grants that respond to needs of area youth. YAC members meet monthly and have opportunities to participate in leadership training and community service activities.

Youth Advisory Council (YAC) History

Over 20 years ago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation conceived a fruitful idea to help seed community foundations throughout Michigan if the local Foundation agreed to establish a permanent youth fund and a Youth Advisory Council (YAC). They wanted to help create a strong philanthropic training ground for youth and in a few short years over 86 YACs were formed across Michigan. The goal was to help young people learn generosity and leadership and at the same time build stronger and more caring communities.

YAC Grants

Grants awarded by the Youth Advisory Council are selected to meet the needs of Manistee County’s youth. Recently awarded YAC grants include:


  • $1,100 to the Manistee County Community Band and Choir (made up of about 40% youth) to grow their music library and include pieces from diverse composers to be performed at their Summer Concert Series throughout the community.
  • $300 to Staircase Youth Services for their Join a Team program to support Manistee County youth who are income insecure join a school sports team.
  • $1,000 to United Way of Manistee County for implementing a Girls on the Run program that will be accessible to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls in Manistee County.



  • $1,000 to the Wexford-Missaukee-Manistee Great Start Collaborative for their Mindfulness Mondays program for Manistee County families with young children.
  • $250 to Staircase Youth Services for their Teen Mental Health days to immediately support Manistee County youth in crisis by providing a positive mental health activity or experience.
  • $750 to Onekama Consolidated Schools for their Whole Child Initiative to support their students with learning opportunities that meet their educational, social, and emotional needs.



  • $2,000 to the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee in support of their 25-cent Family Matinee Program: Presented by YAC



  • $2,300 to the Manistee County Child Advocacy Center in support of their Trauma-Informed Therapy Program



  • $293 to Manistee County PFLAG to support their inclusive book donation program to Manistee County elementary schools
  • $800 to the United way in support of the Prom Boutique and their continued efforts in providing free prom and formal attire to local teens
  • $1000 to Staircase Youth Services to support their Youth Summer Enrichment Program
  • $207 to Brethren High School National Honors Society to support their Blessings in a Backpack program