In 2020, there is an easy to remember appeal built into even the name of the Youth Department fundraiser: The $20 for ‘20 Promise
The idea came from California member Eugene Fletcher, who was the first to give $20 toward the initiative.
“I grew up as a Grange baby…” Fletcher said, noting that the 2019 convention “was the first year I actually started to fully understand what the Grange stands for.”
Fletcher said he saw youth from high school age through early adulthood, from college students to young parents, “who all put time aside to be a part of something greater – something bigger than themselves.”
“I saw this and connected it with my personal life experiences and tried thinking of a simple way to help make sure the Youth program has that opportunity to give so many life changing experiences, lessons, and leadership skills for many years to come. Youth is our future. We, the youth, are your future.”
He said he hopes the initiative will spark many years’ worth of funds raised for the department with at least 20,000 members giving $20 each.
National Grange Youth and Young Adult Director Mandy Bostwick said several Youth who heard the idea lined up to give as well showing they value the generosity of others who make it possible for them to grow and succeed in Grange and beyond.
“I’ve been a fortunate recipient of several trips to National Grange, truly honing and deepening my leadership skill set and my love for the organization,” Pennsylvania Youth Philip Vonada said after giving his $20 donation. “I could have never sent myself in those early years, and even now it would be very hard to fund the trip, but I can at least help the next person to make sure others get the experience I have had and we can all work together now and far into the future for the Grange and for our communities.”
Bostwick is excited to see where the $20 for ’20 Promise can take the department.
“Generous donations of Grange members throughout the country have made possible opportunities for generations of young people who are part of the Grange, and 2019 was no exception,” Bostwick said. “Many members stepped up to the challenge, becoming part of the Founder’s Level Sponsors to benefit the Grange Youth and Young Adults. We can’t thank them enough. But it’s time to do one major push and have enough in the budget so we don’t have to press members hard every year. I think this simple fundraiser can do that.”
Where the money goes
For about $15,000 annually, the National Grange Youth Ambassadors and Outstanding Young Patrons attend an annual planning meeting, the dates of which typically align with National Ag Day in Washington, D.C., which they take part in, as well as regional conferences and National Convention with funds from the Grange Foundation’s Youth Leadership Fund.
Additionally, each year Youth Officer Team members are able to attend National Grange Convention with their rooms, registration, a meal and the Youth tour paid from that same pool of donor funds. While this is not guaranteed, as noted in the Youth Program Handbook, it has been an important way to ensure the intergenerational interactions are happening to strengthen the organization and that young members receive leadership training to ensure the future of the Grange.
“Without funding available to cover the costs of rooms, our young people would struggle to pay hundreds of dollars to attend in addition to getting time off of work or school,” Bostwick said.Donate to the 20 for 20 Youth Fund