Group looks to aid charities

KNOTS, a local organization of youths involved in grant-making, has its plate full of responsibility.

KNOTS, which stands for Konnecting Northwest Ohio through Service, will spend the next month distributing $4,500 given to them by the state for local projects that benefit youths in Wood and Lucas counties.

But KNOTS’ work does not end there. The organization must then begin fundraising efforts so they can attend a national youth leadership conference themed “Citizens, not Spectators.” The conference is in Orlando, Fla. and runs from March 28-30.

Jonelle Gundy, a junior and early-childhood education major, is one of three University students involved in KNOTS and says attending the conference will give KNOTS a chance to showcase its ideas and see how other groups operate.

“As a group, it’s a really great opportunity to see not just ourselves and what we stand for, but what other groups do and how they run things,” Gundy said.

KNOTS members will spend the conference discussing their efforts and accomplishments from the past year. These accomplishments include receiving a state grant, soliciting and selecting proposals from area organizations and ultimately donating $16,500 to community projects in Wood and Lucas counties.

Last year KNOTS distributed their grant money to six organizations, including The Toledo Sister City Organization, Washington Junior High School in Toledo and an after-school program in which elementary students wrote letters to senior citizens.

After receiving Requests for Proposals, also known as RSP’s, KNOTS evaluates organizations against a list of multiple criteria, according to Gundy.

“We evaluate them on what we feel the organization stands for, such as how many people will be helped by their proposed project and will it really make a difference,” Gundy said.

KNOTS currently has 12 members, including ten local high school students and three University students. All three University students are part of the President Leadership Academy, a scholarship-based program that starts one’s freshmen year and continues until senior year.

Rebekah Gonzales, a senior at the University and a youth coordinator for KNOTS, says the high school members come from a variety of communities and backgrounds.

“It’s been interesting,” Gonzales said of the age span in KNOTS. “They [members] seem to care not only about their community, but other communities as well.”