Kruthik Ravikanti, 17, of Alpharetta, Georgia, a senior at Alpharetta High School, co-founded a nonprofit organization to help other young people start, fund and execute their own service projects. Kruthik said he and a fellow high school student realized that many young people aren’t particularly interested in typical types of volunteering, but have a desire to launch their own service projects. However, they often lack the necessary resources, such as the time and money it takes to obtain official nonprofit status. To address this problem, the two friends created “Georgia Youth Leaders” (GYL), a 501(c)3 organization that provides information and guidance to young social entrepreneurs, allows them to benefit from nonprofit status, helps them procure funding, and supports them in other ways.
Once GYL was formed, the founders held seminars to attract high schoolers who had service projects that could operate under the GYL umbrella. Then GYL began applying for grants to help fund those projects, publicizing them through social media, mentoring their leaders, and developing a website. Eight projects are now part of the GYL family, pursuing missions including relief to victims of human trafficking, environmental cleanups, and donating books to children in need. Recently, GYL partnered with an international organization with plans to provide a $250 mini-grant to each daughter organization, in addition to mentoring resources. The group is also planning a youth philanthropy competition, with the winner earning $5,000. “Georgia Youth Leaders is a bridge connecting change-makers with teens trying to find their passions through volunteering,” said Kruthik.