Penny Harvest needs your help
If you haven’t heard yet, the past year has been a slightly less than ideal economic environment for non-profits. Even in Seattle, where a fantastic culture of philanthropy rivals that of any city in the country, charitable organizations of all stripes are being forced to tighten their belts.
Now one of our favorite youth leadership programs, Solid Ground’s Penny Harvest, is in jeopardy of not being able to continue into the next school year. Established in Seattle in the early 1990′s, Penny Harvest is at first glance a coin drive in which elementary and high school students throughout Western Washington mine their lockers, sofas and sidewalks for pennies, and then collectively decide to donate their “harvest” to non-profits they deem worthy of the funds.
But it’s really much more than that. Penny Harvest is a year-round series of service-learning activities that help students apply classroom lessons to real world problems. Student donor committees are formed at each school to decide the best destination for their pennies, and the students who participate in them are nothing less than extraordinary. I met a few of them earlier this week, none over the age of 12, and they were more articulate and passionate about the program than I am about fantasy baseball…and I am very passionate about fantasy baseball.
Students love Penny Harvest, as do educators and parents. But unfortunately, the program has lost two major funding sources and is scrambling to finance the program’s operational costs for next year.