Spark! contest hopes to promote philanthropy among younger generations

Cris Collingwood//May 19, 2022

Spark! contest hopes to promote philanthropy among younger generations

Cris Collingwood//May 19, 2022

A new campaign aimed at the younger generations hopes to promote philanthropy in a new way. 


Janice Black, CEO of Harrisburg-based The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC), said philanthropy makes people think of a person with a certain amount of wealth and stature. 

“That is not true. Anyone can be a philanthropist, even a child,” she said. 

To promote giving on a small scale, TFEC kicked off its first Spark! Contest last week to help individuals within the Greater Harrisburg area realize their philanthropic dreams, no matter their age, gender, income level or ethnicity. 

The winner of Spark! will receive a $10,000 area-of-interest fund where dollars will be used to support local nonprofits and empower them to make a difference in their communities, for a cause they are passionate about, she said. 

The campaign was born out of the foundation’s efforts to rebrand and increase visibility in the community. “People can give us any amount of money, $5, $10, even $1 and know it helps,” she said. “It’s really rewarding.” 

The younger generations, she said, are still building their careers and finances, but they like to give small amounts to many causes. “We want to inspire them to think about the things they are doing and encourage them to do more,” she said. 

“It’s incredible what people can do when they have the thought. It doesn’t matter how they do it as long as they are helping others,” she said. 

Michael Blymier, marketing and communications officer for TFEC – PHOTO/PROVIDED

Michael Blymier, marketing and communications officer for TFEC, said the foundation is asking people to submit ideas they are passionate about. Once the applications are received, the public will vote on the ideas online. 

“The money will stay here in an area of interest fund and money will be given out every year,” he said. “We’ve already gotten five or six letters.” 

TFEC is asking people to consider what motivates them and the causes they care about most and submitting it for a chance to create their own fund. Submissions are being accepted through Thursday, June 30, after which all verified entries will be open to the public for voting and the passionate doers are able to spread the word and ask individuals to show their support for the cause they most want to see funded.  

The top five finalists with the most votes move on to the closing round where the public participate again by casting their final votes and selecting the winner. The official Spark! winner will be announced Wednesday, September 7, 2022.  

“TFEC exists to help all individuals make a difference and contribute to the passions and charitable dreams that drive them. Spark! helps us deliver that message and start fostering the next generation of givers. We want everyone to feel empowered and know they can create real change in their community.” said Black.