The Vitalant Foundation created their event -- the NextUp Awards -- to provide scholarships to young people age 18 and under who have demonstrated commitment to their communities. This regional program focuses on Vitalant's service area of western Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia. Enterprising youth who dedicate their time and talents to making a positive difference in the lives of others through fundraising, philanthropy, volunteerism, and activism are encouraged to apply.
This year's event took place on October 5th, 2022 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Nine finalists across three age groups competed for three main prizes of $2,500 each to further their education or to invest in their philanthropic or charitable programs.
A committee reviewed blinded submissions of the finalists and judged their philanthropic or charitable programs based on their direct impact on the community, the long-term outcomes, and whether the project can serve as a prototype for other communities. The three winners selected were Kari Ann Leventopoulos, Peyton Steed, and Braylee Neal.
Other finalists included Anne Lindsay, Emma Steadman, Kennedy Little, Ryland Wehr, Julia Shaw and Landyn Wehr. In a surprise gesture, the Foundation Board of Directors awarded the remaining finalists $2500 scholarships each.
All proceeds from the NextUp Awards will benefit Vitalant’s High School Scholarship Program.