Menlo News January 27, 2022

Youth Philanthropy Project Finalists Win Support for Global Issues

Claire Lenden ’22 and Sam Warman ’24, the finalists in the Youth Philanthropy Project in Menlo’s Global Issues for Global Citizens class, successfully made their cases to earn support for their chosen organizations.
Claire L. '22 and Sam W. '24 were finalists in the Youth Philanthropy Project.

Claire and Sam received a record $5000 for their respective NGOs, Hope U.S.A. and Save a Child’s Heart. Claire says, “Hope U.S.A. is an extremely effective organization that has aided hundreds of thousands of women across Pakistan” through increased access to healthcare education, vocational training, clean water, and food, “providing hope for the future of gender inequality in Pakistan.” Sam’s chosen NGO, Save a Child’s Heart, works to save the lives of critically ill children suffering from heart disease in countries where access to pediatric heart care is limited or nonexistent. 

History teacher Matthew Nelson, who leads the class, says, “Claire and Sam demonstrated true cosmopolitan spirit in my class for their work in the Youth Philanthropy Project. As finalists in the project, they delivered well-researched, compelling pitches. I am so proud of them!” 

Menlo’s Global Issues for Global Citizens class annually partners with the HAND Foundation—and this year, with Menlo parent philanthropist Yana Kalika—for the Youth Philanthropy Project, which gives students the opportunity to learn about philanthropy’s role in addressing social issues around the world and make a direct impact. The project begins with students researching and selecting an international NGO they feel is worthy of grant funds to support its efforts. Their work culminates in a pitch presentation explaining why their organization is worthy of the grant. 

As their teacher, Matthew encourages students to think about the kind of impact they wanted to have and to listen to their heads as well as their hearts by exploring social issues in line with their interests and values. Students examine each organization critically, looking at their mission, overall impact, and sustainability, as well as investigating how they accomplish their mission and use their resources. 

HAND Foundation cofounder Noosheen Hashemi annually attends to observe and decide how the grants—which in the past have ranged from $3,000 up to $8,000—should be allocated. Noosheen asks the students questions about the social impact of each organization and how they utilize resources and accomplish their missions. She also provides insights into philanthropy and nonprofit management and explains to the students her reasoning as to how much each NGO shall receive in grant money. The funds for the project are generously provided through the HAND Foundation’s Lend a HAND program, which promotes youth philanthropy and volunteerism.