Council works towards its twelfth year of grants


Student Philanthropy Council meets to discuss community grants.

Hill, like many other boarding schools, can be a very sheltered community. Especially with the global pandemic this year, it has become easier to forget the world beyond the campus walls and easier to forget the local community that isn’t protected within the Hill bubble.

The Hill School Student Philanthropy Council consists of 12 students across the fourth, fifth and sixth forms. The group receives $16,000 from the Frank family each year, and this money is then distributed to local nonprofit organizations across Pottstown. Since its establishment in 2008, the council has received applications from NGOs such as Pottstown Cluster, Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels and more. Amy Lehman, faculty adviser to the Student Philanthropy Council, meets weekly with the council, speaks to Pottstown NGO leaders, and supports the council through every avenue. Through the grant process, everyone on the council gets a one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact, learn and understand the meaning of philanthropy amongst the Pottstown community.

Much like the students, local organizations have had great experiences working with the SPC. Wendy Egolf, from the Salvation Army, has worked with the council members in developing a better environment in their homeless shelters. “We enjoy the interaction and genuine concern the Hill School students have for the community. The students that visited us and toured our family shelter were asking great questions about what we do and how we assist families to become independent and find permanent housing,” Egolf said.

Kathryn Maleney, from Good Samaritan Services, was able to provide aid to seniors all around Pottstown with the grant money from the SPC. “In that moment, I felt as though the generations had connected on a meaningful level,” Maleney said. She also recalled one of her favorite moments with the council: “We enjoyed meeting with the SPC representatives and sharing the plight of too many seniors. Our eyes were opened by questions asked and I believe [the council’s] eyes were opened as well by our answers. Truly, every student we met embodied the spirit of the Student Philanthropy Council.  Students are learning how philanthropy works.” 

Maleney continued to explain the big picture of the Student Philanthropy Council’s work in Pottstown. “The relationship between The Hill School and the Pottstown community is impacted in a most positive way,” she said. 

Student Philanthropy Council President and Hill News Local News Editor Philippe Jin ’21 explained what the council is doing currently.

“We’re currently in the part of the year where we discuss grants and make final decisions about which grants receive the money. We have already followed up and spoken with all the NGO leaders that submitted a grant this year, and that was an amazing experience,” Jin said.

As a senior, Jin also talked about his experience on the council.

 “It’s been an amazing three years on the council. There truly is no other activity at Hill like the Student Philanthropy Council, and it’s been amazing for me to reach out to the local community and connect with Pottstown on a deeper level,” he said.  

 The council will be making final decisions about the grants in the coming weeks.

Hill’s student philanthropy council is entering its twelfth consecutive year. Especially in the trying times of the pandemic, the council has been working to continue to give back to the Pottstown district. The SPC has been a bridge into the community beyond Hill and an opportunity to give back, and it is currently working on finalizing another year of positive impact.