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Chamber adds twist to Junior Leadership Class

By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

The Cape Coral Community Foundation and Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral are teaming up to give a few lucky students the chance to learn about philanthropy and stewardship.
The chamber’s Junior Leadership Class will be given the opportunity to award three $1,000 grants to local non-profit organizations. The brainchild of CCCF’s Executive Director Beth Sanger, she saw the twist on the class as an opportunity to challenge the students in a new way.
“I’m taking them through the grant making process, which is similar to what we do with our grant cycle,” Sanger said. “The reality is the fact they are put in a position to know five organizations and make the choice. That’s what I really want them to experience, that it’s not really easy to give money away.”
The Junior Leadership Class grew out of the chamber’s Adult Leadership program.
Entering its sixth year, the junior class gives Cape students the shot at exploring different facets of the community, from advertising to public safety to government, and the opportunity to explore various career paths.
This year’s program kicked off Wednesday with team building exercises.
“The whole idea of the program is to foster future leaders,” said Claudia St. Onge, of the chamber. “They go off to school and hopefully come back to the community … we’re growing our own future leaders that will take care of us one day.”
The five Cape non-profit organizations have already been selected by Sanger. The students will have to select three of the organizations to bestow their grants on, including the Cape Caring Center, Good Wheels, Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army and Cape Friends of Wildlife.
Sanger got the idea from a community foundation in Ohio which was operating a similar program with much success.
Sanger introduced the concept to the students at Wednesday’s kickoff. She said the students were “intrigued” when she presented the new twist on the program, as the reality sank in they were going to be charge of granting $3,000.
“Assuming it’s a success, we look forward to providing this for years to come,” Sanger said. “The community foundation is really looking forward to sharing this experience. Hopefully it will be something they will be able to take with them into adulthood.”
For more information contact the Cape Coral Community Foundation at 542-5594, or the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral at 549-6900.