Hutchison Seniors Aim to Address Mental Health & Learning Loss with Philanthropic Literacy Program

Each year, Hutchison seniors on the Philanthropic Literacy Board research community needs and decide how to allocate grant money to local nonprofits that focus on those issues.
​Hutchison seniors are not only talking about community issues, they’re also dedicated to making a difference. Hutchison’s Philanthropic Literacy Board (PLB) provides seniors with an opportunity to learn about the grantmaking process and the role of nonprofits in our community. A hands-on learning experience in civic engagement, the senior project encourages girls to study their community beyond the confines of Hutchison and determine how to distribute a grant from the student-run Community Service Endowment Fund. 

​Through fundraising efforts like the Beeline Bazaar, upper school girls build and manage the fund. Working with The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis to inform their decisions, they solicit requests for proposals, evaluate applicants, and manage the grants once they are awarded.

Each year, seniors research current issues facing our community to choose how they want to allocate the funds. Because of significant student interest this year, the PLB is made up of two groups of students from the Class of 2023: the Hutch Board and the Sting Board, each with a different goal. The Hutch Board is looking to improve accessibility to mental health resources for teenage Memphians, and the Sting Board wants to fund a program that supports or facilitates youth education initiatives within the greater Memphis community.

The Hutch Board is looking to provide a greater mental wellness community for teenage Memphians, and the Sting Board wants to fund a program that supports or facilitates youth education initiatives within the greater Memphis community

“​The whole research process has revealed to me that there are so many issues in our community that we’re definitely not exposed to on a daily basis, but they exist and impact many members of our community,” said Sarah Bartusch ’23. “Hopefully, the grants we make will help students with similar interests and aspirations who just might not have the exact same tools set up for them.”


If you know of any local nonprofits with related programming that may want to apply, please share this opportunity with them. The deadline for the grant application is Monday, April 3. You can find the application here.

“I’m excited to see how many people apply and what their missions and goals are,” Emma Couch ’23 said. “I hope with the two boards this year, we’re able to make a maximum impact.”

Students said they recognize how unique the Philanthropic Literacy Board is and are grateful for the experience.

“I don’t think many high school students get the opportunity to make such an impact through a grant. A lot of our impact is limited to service hours. It is cool to get to follow this experience through and make decisions on our own,” Sarah said.

From learning how nonprofits operate to reviewing tax documents, the seniors have learned there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into grantmaking.

“It takes a lot of time, communication, and planning to achieve our goal, and I know that this process has taught me lessons that I will continue to take with me even after I graduate,” Loralei Forgette ’23 said.

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