Youth Council

United Way Youth Community Investment Process

The Catawba County United Way Youth Council was formed in 2003 under the direction of Stephen Shuford, a United Way Board member and business leader in our community, and began the annual United Way Youth Community Investment grant cycle. Shuford led this effort with the belief that youth who become involved in their community as a teen, continue to be active as they become adults.

In 2014, the Catawba County United Way Youth Council merged with the Catawba County Youth Council led by Donna Mull with Catawba County Cooperative Extension. The group is made up of 32 high school students with at least one representative from each high school in the county. Membership applications are available through the guidance departments at the local high schools or by contacting Donna Mull at 828-465-8240 or email

Youth Council Grant Applications

The Youth Council will accept Requests for 2024 Funding Proposals (RFPs) targeted on the Impact Areas of Health and/or Education as they relate to the needs and wellbeing of children and youth (ages 0-18) in our community.

2024 applications open online Feb. 2.

2024 Applications are due March 1 by midnight.

Apply at THIS LINK 

Criteria to apply:

  • Grants requests are $3,000 or less.
  • Incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt entity or who have a 501-C3 legal status, within Catawba County.
  • Comply with applicable legal, federal, state and local operating and reporting requirements (e.g. government approved accounting practices, annual audit, 990, nondiscrimination).
  • Provide proof of their non-profit status (copy of 501-C3).

Questions? Contact John Bailey at or call 828-327-6851.

2023 Grant Funding Awards

The Catawba County Youth Council met in person in April of 2023 to vote on how much to fund the programs of five local agencies through the annual Catawba County United Way Youth Community Investment process for 2023-24.

They received and reviewed 12 local agency applications and decided to host presentations from their top six.

The Youth Council focused on supporting those programs that benefited Catawba County students from all three public school systems, grade pre-K to high school in the targeted impact areas of Health and Education.

The group decided to distribute their annual $10,000 in funding to the following Agencies and Programs:


The Corner Table – Backpack Program


Funds will be used to purchase food supplies to fill Backpack Program food bags that are sent home with students at the end of each week. 


Catawba Co. Sheriff’s office – back-to-school program

Funds support back-to-school event in August, purchasing additional school supplies for families who attend. 


Carolina Caring Foundation – Brighter Days Grief Program

Expand Brighter Days youth program to include music therapy for children/teenagers who have experienced the loss of a loved one.


Catawba Co. Hispanic Ministry - Centro Latino


Funds will help cover the cost of healthy snacks during the Abriendo Puertas program which provides daily fitness lessons and afterschool activities to children, grades 1-6.                                               


Children’s Advocacy Protection Center – Chance Facility Dog

Funding will be used to offset the medical and grooming expenses for the program’s facility service dog Chance.


The Salvation Army - Boys and Girls Club

Funds will go to 10 scholarships for summer day camp for youth, ages 5-15, from the East Newton community.



How it works

The Youth Council focuses on giving a voice to the young people of Catawba County in matters of government and increase involvement in volunteerism and giving back to the community. They are also the lead group for the United Way Youth Community Investment process where dollars are allocated to agency programs that specifically benefit children and teens locally.

The Youth Council meets monthly during the school year. Meetings often include presentations on topics of interest to this age group as well as informative sessions featuring county government and non-profit representatives.

Applications from non-profits for the United Way Youth Community Investment process are typically accepted in early March. More information is available by contacting Catawba County United Way by phone at 828-327-6851.

VIDEO - 2019 Youth Council Community Investment Process

Catawba County Youth Council