Throw out all the images of a stuffy, oak-paneled board room where foundation members, as established as parliamentary procedure itself, think lofty thoughts and hand down weighty proclamations.

When the governing board of the Stevan Greenwood Charitable Foundation meets, it's more like spring break or summer camp. The board--12 college students who are nearly all from Northern Virginia--gives money to area families of children with cancer.

And though the students are coming to grips with Robert's Rules of Order, the meetings are more likely to occur around a table at a local pub or during a weekend at Bethany Beach.

The students sift through applications from families who, because of a child's bout with cancer, are having difficulty making ends meet. Last week the foundation awarded its first set of grants: $1,500 to two Maryland and two District families.

"We try to look at the cases practically, but it can get a little emotional," said chairman Brian Pommer, 20, of Fairfax, shaking his head. Although the students like to know the case histories and specific conditions facing applicants, they are particularly averse to using strict criteria in consideration of grant awards.

In the final analysis, Pommer and fellow board members Jane Knott of Fairfax and Rick Cave of Annandale agree, it comes down to what Stevan would do if he was still alive.

Stevan, they say, was "the best friend you could have." A graduate of Woodson High School in Fairfax who attended The College of William and Mary, he was bright, compassionate, funny and optimistic even through his four-year struggle with cancer.

"All of us went to see him almost every day," Cave, 20, said. "He was always up. We'd go there and he would make us laugh."

"He became a big part of our lives," added Pommer. "This fills the gap he left."

The foundation began to amass funds through memorial contributions after Stevan's death last November. His parents, Alfred and Martina Greenwood of Annandale, decided that they would play an advisory role and let the students take the ball. The students did and took it seriously. But they say they also have great fun.

Pommer, for instance, held a fund-raiser at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he is a student. On July 17 the foundation will hold a benefit at Uncle Sam's, a club in Springdale. Later this month they hope to sponsor an attempt at the world's record for musical chairs.

"It's not really important that we get enough people, though we'd like to," Pommer said. They need 4,000-plus participants. "The point is to raise as much money as we can."

Since November, the foundation has raised about $8,500, much of which was contributed by nearly 250 individuals who live in the metropolitan Washington and knew Stevan.

The Douglas Poss family of Edmundston, Md., received $500 from the foundation last week to defray the cost of 4-year-old Lindsay Poss' bone marrow transplant. The operation, in which Lindsay received marrow from her 2-year-old brother, Jonathan, was done in Seattle. The expenses not covered by insurance--such as transportation, lodging, and food in Seattle and at home--will run well into the thousands of dollars.

"By young people, for young people," is how Richard Murray, trustee and attorney to the foundation, characterized it. "Just how Stevan would have it." CAPTION: Picture, Douglas Ross, received a $500 check from Brian Pommer, and Rick Cave of Stevan Greenwood Foundation. By T. ORTEGA GAINES for The Washington Post