Philanthropy Kids: Inspiring the next generation of givers in Dallas

Story by Bora Laci. Photos provided by Philanthropy Kids.

There’s an organization in Dallas proving that “you don’t have to be rich or old to be a philanthropist.”
Aadya Surapareri, a 2023 graduate of the Philanthropy Kids PAVE program.

Amit Banerjee, the President and CEO of Philanthropy Kids, emphasizes the importance of aligning with their mission: “We constantly guard against mission drift. It’s about striking the right balance – being open to innovative ideas while staying true to our core values.”

Amit Banerjee, the President and CEO of Philanthropy Kids.

This strategic approach has led to successful initiatives like the Impact Factory and PAVE, while also allowing them to maintain focus.

Impact Factory is a social impact incubator designed to allow young adult philanthropists to explore social entrepreneurship through projects that connect their personal skills and interests with community needs. The Factory comprises Residents and Fellows who build their resume with meaningful experiences that demonstrate leadership and civic engagement. Graduates have founded nonprofits, clubs, and raised thousands of dollars for local causes.

On the other hand, PAVE serves as Philanthropy Kids’ primary education program for younger students. This leadership course teaches kids how to be active philanthropists and entrepreneurs.

“Our goal is to transform students from passive learners to active community leaders. PAVE is more than a program; it’s a launchpad for young philanthropists,” Amit explains. Student engagement is a crucial element of what they do.

According to Amit, they have seen remarkable improvements not just academically but also in student behavior and collaboration. “It’s a testament to the power of integrating philanthropy into education,” Amit says.

Amit Banerjee, President and CEO (far left) and Rani Banerjee, Vice President of Education (far right) smile with the 2023 PAVE program graduates.

Engaging youth in philanthropy is at the heart of their mission. The PAVE program takes an innovative approach by integrating philanthropy education into regular school subjects. This method not only teaches students about giving back, but also equips them with essential life skills like public speaking and collaboration. By instilling confidence and a sense of responsibility, Philanthropy Kids is creating a new generation of community leaders and philanthropists.

One of Amit’s most touching stories is about a girl named Sarah, a participant in the PAVE program. Sarah, initially shy and reserved, transformed remarkably through the program.

“By the end of the program, Sarah led a community project that brought together diverse groups in her neighborhood. It was incredible to see her confidence and leadership skills blossom,” Amit recalls with pride. This story is just one example of how Philanthropy Kids is making a real difference in the lives of young people.

Amit also touches on the challenges of public awareness and funding.

“Storytelling is key,” Amit explains. “We need to convey that teaching philanthropy is as crucial as any academic subject for holistic youth development.” This approach has helped them tackle the challenges head-on, ensuring their message reaches the right ears.

Collaborations have been pivotal to the success of Philanthropy Kids. A notable partnership is with the Dallas Public Library, which has significantly expanded its reach. These collaborations are nurtured with gratitude and mutual support, creating a network that benefits both the organization and the community.

Robel Leykun and Abel Leykun, graduates of the 2023 PAVE Program.

Addressing the need for innovation is always at the forefront for Amit and his team.

“We’ve evolved with the times, transitioning from print to digital, to stay relevant to our young audience. It’s about meeting them where they are and speaking their language,” Amit says.

The future of Philanthropy Kids is focused on expanding its reach and impact. They aim to amplify their storytelling, strengthen existing partnerships, and develop new ones. Financial stability remains a priority, as they focus on individual donors and institutional funding.

Through all of the hard work, Amit never forgets to reflect on the rewards.

“Seeing the positive transformation in our youth is incredibly fulfilling,” Amit says. “It reaffirms our belief in the potential of young minds to lead change.”

Philanthropy Kids stands as a catalyst for change in the world of youth philanthropy. Through innovative programs, strategic partnerships, and a steadfast commitment to their mission, they are not just shaping young minds but are actively crafting a more compassionate and philanthropic future.

For those inspired by the mission of Philanthropy Kids and interested in learning more, volunteering, or supporting their cause, visit their website. Here, you can find detailed information about their programs, success stories, and ways to get involved. Whether you’re a student, educator, parent, or simply someone passionate about youth empowerment and philanthropy, Philanthropy Kids offers a platform to make a significant impact.