The kids of Englewood have an advocate that supports them and their activities. It’s the Englewood Youth Foundation (EYF), the philanthropic arm of the Rotary Club of Englewood. For 52 years, EYF has aided youth-related activities, including basketball & football teams, summer camps, college scholarships, Kids Needs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, Englewood school programs, Project Graduation and Manta Pride.
The Englewood Youth Foundation’s mission is to foster and improve literacy, educational opportunities, community awareness and valuable life skills for the youth of Englewood so they may gain the experience, values and confidence to achieve their potential. They succeed in this mission by providing direct financial support to area youth through scholarships and specific program funding, by financially supporting Englewood schools and area youth organizations, and by providing volunteer and support services directly to youth and youth programs that encourage community outreach, career advancement and leadership development.
There are four current program formats. Program 1 sponsors students in various high school programs that help build community awareness, volunteerism and other valuable experiences. This includes volunteer opportunities for LBHS students to meet their volunteer hours requirements for Bright Futures Scholarship Program during fundraising events such as the Spring Fine Arts Festival and participating in Rotary-focused leadership programs. RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) and S4TL (Seminar for Tomorrows Leaders) offer students the chance to attend multi-day camps to learn about leadership and team building with their peers. Leadership and teaching what Rotary is all about is also emphasized in the establishment of Rotakids and Interact clubs at Myakka, Vineland and Englewood Elementary Schools as well as LBHS. These are mini-Rotary Clubs for local youth to learn about serving the community with projects the kids think up themselves.
Program 2 supports several local organizations that meet the needs of Englewood’s youth by providing food, shelter, clothing and school supplies to under-served children and families. Some of the more recent programs were restoration of the playground at the Englewood YMCA and supporting the Back-to-School Bash which outfits kids for the upcoming school year with backpacks and supplies.
Program 3 is the Englewood Youth Foundation Campground on the Myakka River in Venice that is available for use by local youth organizations at no charge. These groups include Boy Scouts, area church groups and student groups. The campground includes bathroom facilities with showers, a screened pavilion with fireplace, sink, picnic tables and electricity. The campground has its own fishing dock and boat ramp.
Program 4 is providing scholarships to senior high school students through the assistance of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. These scholarships are possible by generous donations, endowments and bequests from Englewood residents.
In addition, due to COVID-19, the EYF has put aside funds for local non-profits to request grants up to $2,500 to help the kids in Englewood directly affected by the pandemic. EYF President, J.J. Hummon shares, “We have decided to dig deeper in our available funds to help local kids specifically affected by the pandemic crisis. If you are a non-profit helping Englewood kids, please reach out to apply for grants up to $2,500. If there was ever a time for us to step up and dig into our reserves, it’s now.” The application form can be found at www.therotaryclubof Englewood.org/youth-foundation. It is under Program 2 on the webpage.
The Englewood Youth Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation eligible to accept tax deductible donations. One of EYF’s unique qualities is that 100% of their funding goes to support Englewood’s youth, in both Charlotte and Sarasota counties. Donations can be made directly to EYF, PO Box 176, Englewood, FL 34295-0176 or by contacting Valerie Wagner at 475•1976 for endowment or scholarship information. Learn more about EYF at www.rotaryclubofenglewood.org/youth-foundation.
Financial assistance and campsite request forms can be obtained by visiting www.therotaryclubofenglewood.org and going to the Youth Foundation page. Students interested in applying for EYF scholarships can apply with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation at www.gulfcoastcf.org/scholarships.