Philanthropy Tank award recipients and mentors. [Philanthropy Tank/ Tracey Benson Photography]
Boca Raton-based nonprofit Philanthropy Tank is seeking applications from rising eighth- to 11th-graders for ideas to tackle social issues within Palm Beach County.
Co-founded in 2015 by Michael Kohner and Evan Deoul, Philanthropy Tank invites students to pitch project ideas to effect positive change in the community. The organization added a branch in Baltimore in 2019.
Local applicants must live and/or attend school in Palm Beach County. Applications must be received by Oct. 29.
Winners are eligible for up to $15,000 plus a year of mentorship for their programs. Finalists present their ideas to a panel of philanthropist investors. The 2022-23 school year’s finalists made their cases to the investing mentors at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach on March 8.
“Philanthropy Tank has allowed me to see what it’s like to head an organization and make a great impact in my community,” says Mallory Thomas, an 11th-grader at FAU High School who received a 2022 award for her community butterfly garden project GNOME (Growing Native Oases Made for Engagement). “GNOME has added seven gardens across Palm Beach County and gotten over 100 students involved in gardening.”
Thomas and eight other students in five local groups split a total of $47,000.
Past and present winners’ projects have included arts and culture, community development, education, environmental activism, food insecurity, human and gender rights, racial equality, and health and human services.
Overall, Philanthropy Tank has awarded more than $750,000 to 75 student-led projects that have benefited 300,000 people in Palm Beach County and Baltimore. More than 1,000 students have participated in the programs.
The results have included 1,500 pounds of trash collected from beaches, 1,000 pairs of shoes donated to children in need, 2,550 students taught CPR and emergency situational training, 3,500 feminine product donations, 500 swim lessons for children, 300 students attending the Glades Teen Summit, 150 children sent to free music camps, and 7,500 peppers grown in a new hydroponic system and donated to food banks.
“Philanthropy Tank is unique in its approach,” says Tom Vining, a retired president of Otis Elevator Americas and a local 2022 philanthropist investor, “and has set a standard which can be successfully transported to other regions in the United States.”