The biggest “good news” around Northern Kentucky has to be about the new Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky. It’s a new community foundation aimed at addressing NKY’s needs in a strategic and philanthropic way.

Nancy Grayson was named president of the organization and has been busy building it and expanding its resources. She has, in fact, been everywhere, keeping up a dizzying schedule meeting with civic groups and individuals all around the region to broaden support. A community foundation can only be as effective as its connection to the community, and Nancy is connecting.

Horizon teamed up with the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative to offer an inaugural regional philanthropy summit in NKY, on April 17 at the St. Elizabeth Training & Education Center in Erlanger, called “Power in Numbers.” The discussion was around the big issues in NKY that the philanthropic sector can address (and move the needle on) and how to grow and build resources to do that. A big piece of that was a presentation on KPI’s terrific Transfer of Wealth study, just updated, that paints a picture for just how vast those resources are.

I am particularly encouraged that some key young people were featured in the program, and not just because the particular young people are themselves beyond amazement—but because this gives me an opportunity to remind all of us that there are great young people everywhere doing remarkable things in their communities. I would argue that these engaged, smart, caring young people represent the real future for us.

Take Will Broomhead as an example. He’s a junior at Dixie Heights High School and was recently named a second-time winner of the national Emperor Science Award given by the PBS Learning Media and Stand Up to Cancer. He has an impressive resume already, having won awards in Biomedical Sciences and having represented Kentucky twice at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.

He told conference attendees about what he did with the $1,500 Emperor Science prize—he started Foldscopes for Kentucky, a program that distributes “an ultra-affordable, paper microscope that you assemble yourself. Designed to be inexpensive, durable and to give optical quality similar to conventional research microscopes (magnification of 140X and 2 micron resolution), Foldscope brings hands-on microscopy to new places!”

Well, I didn’t know about Foldscopes either (had to look it up) but Will knew—and wanted more students to have them.

Will was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and says that set his life on a new path. He hopes to become a pediatric oncologist and researcher.

Then, consider Bryan Padilla, a senior at Conner High School, who is now the student representative on the school board. Bryan found purpose in his life through the NaviGo college and career coaching program started by former Kenton County superintendent Tim Hanner. He was a young man in need of direction and NaviGo helped him see how he could find a bright future.

He’s on his way, wants to be involved in aerospace and mechanical engineering and has his eyes on MIT where he has already done a summer program. He heads Boone 4 Health initiatives and is a star student and upstanding citizen.

In addition, two grade schoolers from Yealey Elementary were there to talk about their service-learning project. They are representative of the hundreds of service-learning projects going on in schools all around NKY, like the kids at St. Philip’s turning plastic bags into blankets and backpacks for the homeless, those at Kelly Elementary making a traveling tribute to veterans, or others at Goodridge helping kids in Kenya, schools raising money and goods for the hungry and the homeless…

The point being that good things are happening throughout the community, driven by citizens who care about our community and aim to show it. And that includes the youngest among us.

Judy Clabes is editor and publisher of the and and former editor of The Kentucky Post. She and her family live in Edgewood.

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