About Institute



At Grab The Torch (GTT) we instill a basic principle in each student: the greater good is like a puzzle, and we all hold a piece of it. At our Institutes, each student is challenged to take a piece, no matter how big or small, and find his or her true passion. Without each GTT graduate’s full commitment to take action, the puzzle will never be complete. Our fundamental message is maintained throughout the week “give to give, not to get. Your lives will be enhanced by unconditional giving.”

GTT Summer Institutes are currently held in Denver, CO and Boston MA. Each week-long session is a full immersion into our core values: Leadership, Ethics, Empathy and Philanthropy. Staff and alumni lead students through over 15 academic sessions emphasizing leadership and non-cognitive skills, including servant learning, traditions of philanthropy, community mapping, goal planning, design thinking and Conscious Capitalism©.

Students also engage with at least 10 local speakers, including CEOs, entrepreneurs and visionaries from the corporate, non-profit, philanthropic and community engagement sectors. GTT combines this extensive, unique curriculum with the magical, bonding experience of summer camp. In each beautiful, thriving location, GTT plans outdoor adventures, team-building activities and community field trips to build connections and relationships that will last a lifetime.


  • Ages 15-18 and come from across the U.S.A. and abroad
  • Independent, charter, public and international school students
  • 20- 30 students in each Summer Institute


  • Colorado:  Denver University (5 nights), Fountain Valley School Mountain Campus at the foot of Mt. Princeton (3 nights)
  • Boston:  Brandeis University (5 nights), Newport RI (3 nights, including 1 night aboard tall ship)
  • Students are assigned roommates upon arrival
  • Pillow, sleeping bag and towel are provided


  • Meals on college campuses will be served in dining halls 
  • Meals during outdoor leadership portion will be prepared and cleaned by GTT staff and students
  • Snacks – granola bars, fresh fruit and others are provided, students may bring their own
  • Water bottle – all students must bring a water bottle
  • Most food allergies and special needs can be accommodated with at least 21 days advanced notice


  • 4-5 business casual outfits (for sessions with speakers and site visits)
  • 1-2 dressy outfits (for dinner networking events, not formal) 
  • Active wear, including swimsuit (daily for wearing around campus and outdoors)
  • Comfortable nice shoes (significant walking every day on campus, in cities and outdoors)
  • Comfortable sturdy shoes (for outdoor leadership activities)


  • Fingerprints©, servant leadership training designed exclusively for Grab The Torch by Elin Bunch and Emily Woods at the Vanderbilt Ingram Scholarship Program
  • Design Thinking© by Seth Leighton, Envoys Global Education
  • A Goal Planner© by Eric Pasinski
  • Conscious Capitalism© with founder Raj Sisodia
  • Historical Traditions of Philanthropy, Subsectors of the Nonprofit Sector, Mapping a Philanthropic Community with Luana Nissan, Catalysts for Good
  • Service Learning with Nan Peterson, The Blake School & National Youth Leadership Council’s Service Learning Practitioner Leadership Award

Site Visits (examples)

  • Colorado:  The Denver Foundation, Highland Tavern, Denver, Arkansas River, Princeton Hot Springs
  • Boston:  Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Babson, WGBH, Quincy Market, Newport, RI

Outdoor Leadership Activities

  • Colorado:  hiking, swimming, whitewater rafting, group games
  • Boston:  swimming, sailing, group games