Cascades Academy, Bend

Community 101

Student Community Engagement Through Grantmaking and Volunteerism

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Community 101 (C101) is a classroom-based program that gives students an opportunity to get involved in their communities through grantmaking and volunteering.

With major support from the PGE Foundation this innovative collaboration of schools, businesses and charitable organizations gives students tools to make positive change in their communities. Used by teachers throughout Oregon, C101 lends itself to instructional use in civic engagement, global literacy, critical thinking, public speaking, use of technology, civil discourse and community involvement.

In 2022-2023, approximately 850 students from 38 Oregon schools awarded almost $150,000 to 97 community nonprofits, logged thousands of community service hours and raised an additional $10,000 to add to the grantmaking total.

Are you a Community 101 teacher or lead student?

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C101 Overview

A class receives a $5,000 allocation for grantmaking in the areas of arts and culture, education, the environment and healthy families. Students identify community needs, decide where to focus, and then implement a grant program. At the end of the term, they present their grant awards. The entire $5,000 allocation goes to the community. Frequently, businesses or individual donors sponsor a classroom by providing the $5,000. In this way, they can support their local communities while also encouraging youth philanthropy and civic engagement.

The classroom teacher acts as the program advisor and empowers the students to make decisions while guiding them through the process. Subject areas and classes that effectively integrate this program include business, English, Spanish, government, leadership, AVID, civics/history and marketing. Students may also use the program as the basis for their senior project.

Community 101 students must participate in at least one community service project.

Who Benefits?


  • Learn about social issues close to them and foster positive change in their schools and communities
  • Interact with adults outside a school setting
  • Acquire valuable life skills, such as leadership, building teams, building consensus, public speaking, critical thinking and budgeting


  • Acquire a structured service-learning program that teachers can use to close the achievement gap and incorporate civic/community engagement into the curriculum
  • Benefit from a program that can be used to help students meet Oregon's expanded requirements for graduation
  • Learn an innovative way for teachers to work with students, elevating teachers to the role of mentor as students assume responsibility for their own learning
  • May benefit from grants of up to $1,000 that participating students can award to their own schools


  • Leverage charitable giving by educating the next generation of philanthropists while still supporting their local communities
  • Engage in a unique collaboration with other foundations, businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations
  • Develop connections with potential future employees


  • Acquire needed funding for programs
  • Develop relationships with students who are future donors, volunteers and employees
  • Increase their visibility through media releases and connections with other nonprofits


  • Benefit from increased publicity about local issues
  • Experience growth in youth leadership and involvement