Annual Community Grants Awarded by "Youth Engaged in Philanthropy"

Grant recipients pose with their certificates at the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) awards ceremony Sunday afternoon at University Galleries in Uptown Normal. (Image Credit: Breanna Grow)

Grant recipients pose with their certificates at the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) awards ceremony Sunday afternoon at University Galleries in Uptown Normal. (Image Credit: Breanna Grow)

A student-powered philanthropic organization awarded $10,000 in grants to nonprofits serving children and teens in Central Illinois.

Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP), a group of 25 high school students from McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan Counties, presented the awards to recipients Sunday afternoon at the University Galleries in Uptown Normal.

The students reviewed 19 grant proposals, choosing seven organizations and projects to fund, including:

  • $500 to 100 Black Men of Central Illinois to fund summer school scholarships
  • $500 to Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation for its Attack Asthma Camp
  • $1,000 to Child Protection Network for permanency bags for kids exiting the foster care system
  • $1,000 to Fostering Dignity for its "Backpack for Youth" program
  • $1,000 to Max's Miles Foundation for its Harmony Park Project
  • $2,000 to Muscular Dystrophy Association for its summer camp
  • $4,000 to Regional Alternative School to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and hygiene kits

The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation launched YEP five years ago with an annual $10,000 gift from an anonymous donor. Since then the group has funded 44 grants worth $50,000, impacting an estimated 11,636 area youth.

The students are responsible for the group’s operations, from choosing grant recipients to securing an endowment to fund YEP for generations to come.

“We’re privileged to work with this great group of young folks that are our future leaders who are really changing the way we work and live today,” said Greg Meyer, Executive Director of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. “They are one of the most exciting things that our foundation is proud to sponsor.”

YEP mentors and alumni also recognized graduating senior members who’ve made lasting contributions to the program.

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YEP member Claire Crabill talks about her time in the program.

Over the last year Normal Community High School senior Claire Crabill has helped put together plans for a youth needs assessment survey to help YEP better serve fellow high schoolers through its grants program.

Crabill said meeting with fellow YEP members has given her valuable communication skills she’ll use as a college student and beyond.

“You know how to raise your voice but also listen to others, and you also know how to include everyone in conversation.”

EllaKate LeFebre said she and other YEP mentors try to give members a clear understanding of nonprofit operations through hands-on work, from fundraising and writing grants to reviewing proposals and meeting with community leaders.

“That's really the goal of YEP--to catch them while they’re young so they have that passion for philanthropy and they can continue to have it throughout their entire lives.”

To apply for a grant, make a donation or apply to become a member, visit ciyep.org.