Youth Impact Charitable Fund
Est. 2020 by The Verge Awards for Teens on the Verge of Greatness.
They were so close. Years of planning were leading up to April 2020 when the “Verge Awards® for Teens on the Verge of Greatness!” would hold its first (free!) festival at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre, with Grammy-nominated artist Hunter Hayes volunteering to be part of the celebration.
Linda Neaton, founder and CEO of the Verge Awards, had the enthusiastic support of the Commissioner of Education and Live Nation. Then the pandemic hit. There would be no live performances in front of large audiences.
Stages darkened and high school and community musicals, concerts, art exhibitions and athletic events were cancelled; and the very places where teens “discover their passions and find their people” were suddenly unavailable.
So, Neaton pivoted. She reimagined the Verge Awards as a virtual festival where all kinds of teens could showcase their talents. “I saw how necessary this was,” Neaton says. “We want teens to hear that applause and feel the encouragement, even though it’s virtual.”
Teens from around the country can upload a performance, artwork, invention, writing, fashion designs and more for display in the Festival's virtual venues throughout the summer. They can participate "just for the fun of it, or opt-in for adjudication and public voting to win a Verge Award, be discovered by college and other talent recruiters, or be featured in 'Teens on the Verge' benefit variety shows this fall."
“Picture celebrity benefits, but with teenage musicians, film makers, athletes and inventors as the stars and celebrities like Broadway TV, film and music stars Kristin Chenoweth and Megan Hilty cheering for them!” Neaton explains.
They plan to donate 100% of profit from sponsorships to the Youth Impact Charitable Fund and the most promising youth-led solutions, prompting Neaton to call the model “Pop Culture with a Purpose.”
Students can also be part of the Verge Award’s Creative Force for Good, using their creative, STEM or advocacy skills to support coronavirus relief and racial equality, combat poverty and climate change, promote education and animal welfare, and more.
“We want them to witness the impact and tremendous value of their passions and abilities,” Neaton says “which will hopefully ignite in them a lifelong desire to achieve meaning in their work.”
They anticipate raising $millions every year using this sponsorship and cause marketing model, and charitable donations from businesses, individual and funding organizations will of course increase the impact these amazing teens can achieve.
“Our mission is to celebrate and support the dreams of young creators, innovators, athletes and changemakers - teens on the verge of greatness, and empower them to use their passions to achieve positive impact in this world,” Neaton says.
And of course, the more funds they raise, the more impact they can achieve.
Please make a donation to this Fund by using the form below. Thank you for your gift!