New American Scholars


A Milestone Journey: Riyah Patel’s Inspiring Takeaway from the NH Center for Nonprofits Grants Institute

Setting New Standards in Leadership and Education for Refugee Students Riyah Patel, the 17-year-old Founder and President of New American Scholars, never stops learning. Known for her relentless dedication to bridging the educational gap for refugee students in New Hampshire, Riyah recently expanded her horizons by attending the NH Center for Nonprofits Grants Institute.

The NH Center for Nonprofits Grants Institute: A Brief Overview

Before diving into Riyah’s personal experience, let's understand the importance of this three-day intensive program. Hosted at the scenic Hubbard Gallery in the historic Canterbury Shaker Village, the NH Grants Institute is aimed at nonprofit organizations that make a difference in the lives of New Hampshire residents. The institute, led by Betsy McNamara, CFRE and Principal of Full Circle Consulting, offers an educational treasure trove for both budding and seasoned grant writers. From understanding the funder’s perspective to dissecting the nuances of IRS Form 990, the curriculum is comprehensive.

The Youngest in the Room with the Biggest Dreams

Though the youngest among the forty-five attendees, Riyah never felt out of place. In fact, her presence symbolized the immense potential that lies in the younger generation, especially when it comes to leading organizations that can make a meaningful impact.

Riyah Patel: The Lifelong Learner

What makes Riyah's participation so impactful is her dedication to continuous learning. Already accomplished in her mission with New American Scholars, Riyah believes that understanding the financial aspects, like grants and funding, can enable her organization to reach greater heights. “Attending the NH Grants Institute has empowered me with the knowledge to explore diverse funding avenues, ensuring that New American Scholars can expand its reach and be more effective in bridging the educational gap,” Riyah shared.

Key Learnings and Experiences

Among the activities, Riyah was most intrigued by "The Logic Model," a segment led by Melissa Nemon, Ph.D., which dissected the organization's goal, inputs, activities, outputs, and eventual outcomes. This aligned well with her vision for New American Scholars: a vision that extends beyond academic support to social support and peer mentorship.

Budgeting tips from Sue Fulton, CFO of the Endowment for Health, also caught Riyah's attention. “Understanding direct and indirect expenses will go a long way in making our services more efficient and our impact more far-reaching,” she noted.

The Big Picture: Looking Ahead

Riyah's attendance wasn't merely about obtaining a certificate of completion; it was an affirmation of her unwavering commitment to her organization and its future. “As we aim to go national, the key insights gained from this institute will serve as foundational pillars for us,” she affirmed.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t just Riyah who learned something; her unique experience as a young founder brought a fresh perspective to the cohort. As she shared her own journey of building a nonprofit, her tale served as inspiration, driving home the point that age is merely a number when it comes to making a difference.

More than Just an Organization, It's a Vision

Riyah’s vision for New American Scholars is rooted in a holistic approach that empowers refugee students not just academically, but in taking control of their lives. Armed with new skills and insights from the NH Grants Institute, she is more prepared than ever to steer New American Scholars toward their ambitious goal—expanding services to every refugee family in New Hampshire and scaling up to a national level.

For more information on the NH Center for Nonprofits and their annual Grants Institute, visit

In essence, Riyah Patel is not just a participant; she's an evolving leader, forever committed to refining her skills for the betterment of her organization and, more importantly, the lives of the refugee students she serves.