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Next-Gen Impact for Native Communities

Mallory Snodgrass poses with fellow young philanthropists at Broadneck High School in Annapolis, Maryland.


When COVID-19 hit, everyday activities and long-term goals changed, but they did not stop.

Plans shifted, typical approaches were adapted, and for many, resourcefulness and resilience shone through. This was the case for a group of young philanthropists at Broadneck High School in Annapolis, Maryland. When the pandemic shut down their plans for a spring break service trip, they immediately searched for a way they could still have an impact. And the difference they wanted to make was for Native communities.

Seniors Owen Hoggard, Mallory Snodgrass, and Katheryne Lochart were part of the school’s Habitat Club that had plans to travel to New Orleans to spend their spring break on a group build. The teens’ plan involved not only donating their time but also a year of fundraising for the group’s travel and lodging during the service project.

Katheryne (right) wears a mask pre-COVID-19 on a build day.

With news of the pandemic, they found themselves with funds to give, and a desire to still have an impact, despite canceled plans.

For the members of the Habitat Club, the decision to support First Nations was based on a personal desire to make a tangible difference. Owen said he wanted to give to an organization that was hands-on. “Some organizations have missions that are very large and abstract,” he said. “I am a very kinesthetic person. I like to be able to touch and experience the work.” Mallory too sought an opportunity to support an organization that works closely with the people they serve and goes “above and beyond.” Katheryne, whose grandfather is part Cherokee and who has made an effort to bring attention to humanitarian efforts such as the No More Stolen Sisters, introduced the group to First Nations.

Katheryne (bottom row, far left), Owen (top row, fourth from left), and Mallory (top row, fifth from left) at a benefit dinner for the Habitat Club.

The group put it to a vote and decided to donate over $830 to helping Native communities.

Indeed, the students’ donation did make a tangible difference — through First Nations’ COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which goes to help organizations and tribes in Indian Country meet immediate needs of the pandemic and focus on long-term sustainability.

They were also able to carry the mission of the Habitat Club forward, despite remote learning and canceled trips. The 29-member group is a popular activity at the high school that instills a sense of life-long philanthropy in their members. Mallory said, “I come from a history of volunteering, and through the club, I was able to meet people while helping others. It’s a unique high school experience.”

While these amazing students weren’t able to “build” onsite as part of their philanthropic outreach, they were able to help Native communities respond, rebuild and recover, and First Nations is grateful for their support.