Teen-Run Charities Awarded More Than $100,000 At Philanthropy Tank Event

All finalists with the philanthropist investors and Philanthropy Tank staff. Photo by Tracey Benson Photography

Seven charities founded and operated by local teens were awarded a total of $101,000 in funding during the fourth annual Philanthropy Tank Live Pitch Event held recently at the Kravis Center.

Each of the charities made three-minute presentations and had the opportunity to win up to $15,000. The event ended with the philanthropist investors Christine Stiller, Larry Stern, Jim Karp and John Scarpa investing into each charity.

Art for the Soul was awarded $15,000. This group works with disadvantaged children, often from Latin American countries, coming from economic hardships, traumatic experiences and difficult home lives. Students are taught by students in a variety of subjects. The program was proposed by Dreyfoos School of the Arts students Cristina Lindner of West Palm Beach, Mariele Sabat of Boca Raton and Tomás Carter of Royal Palm Beach.

Alex’s Free Kicks was awarded $15,000. This nonprofit looks to expand its program. The organization currently collects soccer balls and cleats in Wellington for those in need throughout Palm Beach County. To date, the organization has collected and donated more than 550 balls and 250 cleats to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. The goal is to collect from soccer fields across the county and get other children to become representatives and lead local collections. The program was proposed by Alex Shnider of Wellington, a 10th grader at Wellington High School.

STEM Lab was awarded $15,000. This is an educational program that targets underrepresented elementary school children. It is an after-school project designed to provide mentorship to low-performing children and ensure their academic success. Students are taught more than 10 subjects, including engineering, robotics and medical science, by local teen volunteers. The program was proposed by Andrea Castillo of Spanish River High School, Harry Castillo of Omni Middle School and Wendy Garcia of Lake Worth High School.

Code Autism was awarded $14,000. Its mission is to develop and conduct computer coding classes for high school and college-aged students with autism. Code Autism’s goal is to facilitate an environment of social acceptance, purpose and education and, ultimately, employment for students. The courses will help combat the high rate of unemployment among those with autism. The program was proposed by Sophia Lloyd George of Palm Beach. She is an 11th grader at the Oxbridge Academy.

Mayan Girls was awarded $15,000. This group looks to serve the Guatemalan Mayan community by translating information such as current events, weather alerts, news topics and community events. The program wants to assist this population, which misses critical information because of a high rate of illiteracy. They will record, edit and produce work to share via social media. The program was proposed by Lake Worth High School students Lorena Felipe Sebastian, Maria Andres, Magdalena Francisco and Daniella Domingo.

Alive with Music was awarded $15,000. This nonprofit seeks to use the art of music as a way to help restore the memories of patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The program was proposed by Mara Vaknin, an 11th grader from Lake Worth who attends the Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

Little Angels Today, Bright Minds Tomorrow was awarded $12,000. It aims to set up a mentoring program at El Sol for children ages 5 to 13 who do not speak English as their first language. They will tutor on Saturdays while their parents attend development courses. The charity will also create a camp and technology workshops to help each child develop computer skills. The concept was developed by American Heritage School 11th grader Adriana Flores.