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Community Hero: Incredible Youth Inspires Philanthropy in Alaska

By Bobi Rinehart, CFRE

Imagine a 10-year-old boy spending his weekends learning Arabic and making postcards for refugees across the world. Meet William Scannell IV, AFP Alaska's 2015 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award winner.

His project is called Any Refugee.  William and his classmates are making postcards to send to children in refugee camps around the world. As his mom Michelle explains, “He has a well of caring and empathy that never runs dry.” 

The award had an impact on William. He says, "I feel very honored about getting this award. Out of all the people in Alaska, people who do so much good, you chose me. It’s as much of a responsibility as it is an honor, and so I must live up to the respect you have shown to me. Thank you to all of the people who gave me the award because this, by far, is my greatest achievement yet.”

scannell pic

Honoring young philanthropists is an important way that AFP Alaska helps develop our next generation of philanthropists and fundraisers. Our Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award is one way that we make sure that our young people are applauded for their efforts.  Their stories also serve as an inspiration to other kids their age. You can find more ways to support youth in your community on AFP’s Youth in Philanthropy page.

And in his Dad's eyes, the experience of winning this award has bolstered William’s efforts.  He says, "Having the Alaskan philanthropic community come together and honor him in this way has absolutely reaffirmed his commitment to making the world a better place.”

AFP Alaska's Board President, Gretchen Gordon, sums up how we all feel about our Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award: "Every year, we look forward to hearing about the amazing work that kids in our state are doing to make Alaska a better place. The projects these kids undertake are mind-blowing.  Honoring Alaskans, like William, shows others how even a simple idea, combined with a passion for helping others and a little elbow-grease, can create a more caring and accepting world. We are proud to be a part of honoring kids as we do adults - together in the same arena - for their philanthropic spirit and exemplary work."

To learn more about William Scannell’s Any Refugee Project, please go to

Bobi Rinehart, CFRE is the AFP Alaska Chapter’s Youth in Philanthropy Representative and a member of AFP’s Youth in Philanthropy Subcommittee. 

For more information about AFP’s Youth in Philanthropy programs, click here.

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