Amid end-of-the-year business with school trips, prom and sporting events, three groups of Greenwich high school girls also added to their schedules a competition for grants to fund local philanthropic endeavors.
Through SchoolPYP, the newest giving method formed by Greenwich-based collaborative giving group Pitch Your Peers, female teams from Greenwich High School, Greenwich Sacred Heart and The Stanwich School crafted presentations they delivered Wednesday night in front of PYP’s membership at Stamford’s Americares offices.
The Stamford location was chosen, in part, because it was “neutral ground,” PYP founder and president Nina Lindia told attendees, but also because PYP member and Americares director of U.S. programs and partnerships Lindsay O’Brien offered it as a professional place to hold the event.
Leading up to the pitch competition, the three teams met several times with PYP mentors and many times with each other to create a presentation about a local charity or philanthropic initiative they want to fund.
On Wednesday, their hard work went on display as members considered their pitches and will vote how to award the $6,000 worth of grants in the next two weeks.
Greenwich High School’s concept focuses on a Community Garden of Hope, which will be organized by a GHS chapter of Roots & Shoots, a national youth service program. The garden will be built regardless of whether the GHS team wins the top $3,000 prize, but the additional funding would go toward an education center and extra raised beds that would help grow fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs to be donated to local food bank Neighbor to Neighbor.
The presentation “completely blew me away,” said the group’s faculty adviser Kathy Mendez. “I was extremely proud of the poise, charisma and overall representation of Greenwich High School by our three outstanding young women.”
Greenwich Sacred Heart students described an oral history project they’d like to create as a way for students to interact with and learn from local elders at Greenwich Woods Health Care Center. Long-term the students hope to organize a prototype program they could implement at their own school as well as take elsewhere.
Finally, The Stanwich School team pitched funding for Friends of Autistic People. The top grant award would support 300 families through FAP, which offers therapy and education to families with autistic members.
Jackie Wood, the faculty adviser for Stanwich’s team, said she appreciated the opportunity PYP gave her students to participate.
“Being a part of the first SchoolPYP and meeting the women involved in PYP showed our students that service learning extends well beyond the teenage years, and many people devote their lives to raising awareness and helping others,” she said.
PYP members will have two weeks to consider the pitches and ask questions. They will vote through an online platform, which will close May 11 and the winner will be announced soon after, Lindia said.
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