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I had the great pleasure of attending the Philanthropy and Youth Annual Celebration Expo.

Mind Shift was the recipient of a $1500 grant from the Fargo North High School PaY Committee. Because of this, we were invited to host a table at the year-end celebration event to meet with other non-profits and with the PaY Youth who were instrumental in awarding grants to nonprofits like ours.

About PaY Program

PaY is a program of The Barry Foundation and is designed to introduce local high school students to the importance of leadership and service through grantmaking.

Here are some of the numbers from the program book:

  • To date, the PaY Program has provided 1,991 grants with 30+ areas of focus.
  • 350+ non-profits have been engaged by PaY committees
  • Collectively, PaY students have provided grants to their communities totaling $1.5 million
  • 145 PaY Interns have been placed with local nonprofits.

Impact of the Grant on Mind Shift

Mind Shift was the recipient of one of these grants. This grant will directly impact the lives of people with Autism who are looking for work.

It will help fund their training with Mind Shift and ultimately help them on the path to increased independence and empowerment that comes with long-term employment.

We are grateful for this grant and indeed rely on it to meaningfully assist those looking for work through our program.

Highlights of the Event

As wonderful as it was to receive this grant, this wasn’t even the highlight of the event.

Seeing the hundreds of young adults participating in the PaY program, witnessing their passion and commitment, and seeing their drive and their hope – THAT was the highlight of the day.

Their presentations explaining the thought behind their choices, their enthusiasm for the site visits and their experiences, and their forward-thinking remarks give me hope for the future.

Student-Led Initiatives

These were not kids looking for an easy extracurricular group or wanting to pad their college applications. I could see their sincere care and commitment.

These groups are student-led. To maximize how much information they could gather, many of them chose to break into committees to investigate and report back about local non-profits in their focus areas.

They reported back to their group and persuasively discussed their options until they had determined where they would award their funds. These are young adults who will become our next leaders in the community.

Personal Connection & Pride

I have the added joy of knowing that my daughter is part of the PaY committee at her school.

Being a part of the Celebration event today has given me a deeper insight into what she has been doing in PaY during her high school career.

I’m so proud of her and of all of her PaY peers for their curiosity, their willingness to investigate and learn, and their motivation to develop their leadership skills and philanthropic mindset.

Community & Teamwork

Not only are they building their skills as individuals, they are working as a team, building a community.

These skills are so important for the greater community as a whole to thrive.

This team and community-based mindset were so evident in the way that many of the presenters closed their presentations and introduced the next speaker, “I Inspire, I Lead, I Share, but I am not the only one.”


As I continue my work with Mind Shift, building connections with our Business Partners, mentoring our Specialists as they strengthen their employment skills, and building connections with other non-profits, I’ll let those words be a driving force behind my actions: I Inspire, I Lead, I Share, but I am not the only one.


What is the PaY Program?

  • The PaY (Philanthropy and Youth) Program, run by The Barry Foundation, educates high school students on leadership and service through grantmaking.

How does Mind Shift benefit from the PaY Program grant?

  • The grant supports Mind Shift in providing training and employment opportunities for individuals with Autism, enhancing their independence and empowerment.

What are some achievements of the PaY Program?

  • To date, the PaY Program has awarded 1,991 grants across more than 30 areas, engaging over 350 non-profits and distributing a total of $1.5 million.

How are students involved in the PaY Program?

  • Students participate by forming committees to review and select non-profits for grant awards, gaining hands-on experience in philanthropic decision-making.

What was the highlight of the PaY Annual Celebration Expo?

  • Beyond receiving the grant, the highlight was witnessing the passion, commitment, and leadership development among the youth involved in the PaY Program.

How can other students or schools get involved in the PaY Program?

  • Schools interested in participating can contact The Barry Foundation to learn about eligibility and the application process for their students.

What impact does participating in PaY have on students?

  • Students develop critical skills in leadership, teamwork, and philanthropy, which prepare them for future roles as community leaders.