E3 Creates Local Change through Grants, Service Projects

With its wide array of student activities and clubs, Los Altos High School is hardly lacking in extracurricular activities. However, other outlets to improve the community exist outside the limits of our school as well. With its unique ability to give grants, E-Cubed Youth Philanthropy (E3) provides a suitable medium through which students can help change their community for the better by focusing on youth in the community.

E3 is run and funded by the Los Altos Community Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to build and maintain a strong local community. The program is specifically tailored for youth, with its members spread out across seven middle and high schools. E3 currently has a total of 33 members, 11 of whom attend LAHS. All members participate in service events, leadership training and grant-making activities in order to create change in the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills community.

“E3 stands for educate, engage, and empower, and we really do try to carry out that motto.” Elaine said. “[We]spend a considerable amount of time giving grants to local organizations that focus on at-risk youth, and we also fundraise for and help out at multiple local events.”

In fact, E3 has recently given a grant of $2000 to an organization called Kick, Lead, Dream, which hosts free summer soccer camps for at-risk youth in Mountain View and Sunnyvale. Through the ability to give such grants, members of E3 are able to directly influence their local community and see firsthand the good that they are doing.

“What I like most about E3 is the emphasis on local change,” Elaine said. “I think that as opposed to helping establish facilities in third-world countries, it’s also important to look at what needs to be done in the community—and working in the Bay Area brings back very real responses that motivate me to actually work harder in everything I do.”

In order to show members the impact that they can have on the community, the program places a strong emphasis on local service projects, with the goal of improving teen health, the environment and education. Specifically, E3 focuses on youth in the community, targeting issues that affect children ranging from toddlers to teenagers. E3 members participate in a wide variety of projects, from creating and delivering paper bag lunches to homeless families to providing presents for underprivileged children during the holidays.

“I think the thing that really sets E3 apart from other philanthropic organizations is its focus on youth,” Luke said. “We are a youth-led board, and…a lot of our funding goes to organizations that are either youth-led, help out youth in need, or both.”

With E3, members learn to contribute to their community in new ways, and as an added bonus, have the opportunity to witness the impact that they make on their surrounding environment.