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Serving DeKalb County, IL Since 1993

Welcome to Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP)!

During the 2018-2019 year, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) celebrates 10 years as a youth-led committee of the Community Foundation! Thank you to those who continue to provide support and direction for this very important youth initiative. And thank you to all our members, alumni, advisors, and community partners. Together, we are making a positive impact and improving the quality of life for youth in DeKalb County.

YEP is open to all high school students in DeKalb County, IL. Through monthly meetings and volunteer opportunities, YEP builds leadership, communication, social, and analytical skills. Members are familiarized with nonprofits, build an understanding of philanthropy, and are introduced to grantmaking. A large portion of the year is spent on grantmaking, YEP Grants, where members learn to analyze grant applications, conduct site visits, and identify the potential impact on other youth in DeKalb County. Last year, the YEP committee allocated and granted $12,562 to 10 community organizations for a variety of youth serving programs and projects.

YEP featured in the Your Resource for Living magazine, Vol. 13, Issue 1 (Resource Bank)

Upcoming meetings/events include:

  • YEP 10 Year Celebration Event (May meeting) - Thursday, May 9, from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m (6:00 p.m. start time) at the St. Mary Catholic Parish Activity Center, 312 Waterman Street, Sycamore
“Each year, YEP empowers high school students to think creatively, to analyze grant proposals, and to allocate thousands of grant dollars. YEP is truly a life changing experience as it allows young adults to understand the impact they can have in their own backyard.” Danniela Estrada - Sandwich High School (Class of 2018)

2017/2018 YEP Year in Review

What is YEP?


How do I join Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP)?
It's easy to become a member of YEP! Simply fill out both the YEP Membership Application and a Commitment Agreement. If you're still a little unsure about joining, be sure to attend the Meet & Greet to learn more about the program.
What happens at the Meet & Greet?
The Meet & Greet is a chance for youth interested in joining YEP to meet the Executive Committee and returning YEP members. The executive committee will lead a short presentation to explain YEP's purpose and encourage everyone to join, but other than that, it’s an informal social event.
What happens during YEP Orientation?
Orientation is the first required meeting for YEP members. The meeting will explain YEP's purpose by showcasing YEP's achievements in prior years. Members should plan to participate in a community-wide Scavenger Hunt. The majority of the meeting will be spent travelling in adult chaperoned vehicles to various past YEP grantees.
What is a typical YEP meeting like?
YEP meetings in October, November, December, January, February, and March, are held on a weeknight from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. All meetings are led by the youth executive committee and held in The Freight Room at the DeKalb County Community Foundation. Each meeting will feature a theme or speaker to help youth members understand the many facets of grantmaking. The August (Meet & Greet), September (Orientation), April (Allocation) and May (Grants Reception) meetings are a little different in content, meeting time, and expectations. Learn more.
Where are YEP meetings held?
YEP meetings will be held in The Freight Room, located inside the DeKalb County Community Foundation at 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore.
Does YEP meet on Sundays?
Some special YEP meetings are held on Sundays. The Meet & Greet, Orientation, and April Grant Allocation are usually held on Sundays because they are longer meetings. The monthly meetings from October to March will be held on a weeknight from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. The Grants Reception, held in May, will be on a weeknight or a Sunday. Learn more.
Can I join YEP as a Freshman?
Any high school student in DeKalb County can join YEP. If you are a student looking for an activity that will help you connect with the community, volunteer, and make friends with youth from other schools, YEP might be a good fit! Learn more.
I live outside of DeKalb County, but attend a high school in DeKalb County. Can I join YEP?
Yes! The YEP Executive Committee encourages high school students from Indian Creek, Sandwich, Somonauk, Hinckley-Big Rock, and Hiawatha high schools to join YEP. EVEN if you live outside of DeKalb County. Learn more.
I live in DeKalb County, but attend high school outside of DeKalb County. Can I join YEP?
Yes! All high school aged residents of the DeKalb County are invited to join YEP. Learn more.
I am homeschooled. Can I join YEP?
Yes! All high school aged residents of DeKalb County are invited to join YEP. Homeschool students who have participated in YEP love it because of the many opportunities it offers for meeting peers with similar interests from all over DeKalb County. Learn more.
What does YEP do?
YEP is a group of high school students that learn about volunteerism, philanthropy, leadership, and grantmaking through monthly meetings, outreach events, and a special youth-led grant program. The pinnacle of the YEP year is a grant allocation meeting in which the youth members are responsible for allocating approximately $11,000 to youth serving nonprofits in DeKalb County. Members attend monthly meetings to learn the roles of community foundations and nonprofits and how to distribute the YEP grant dollars to address needs of youth in DeKalb County.
What is a YEP Outreach Event and why do all members have to attend one?
Outreach events are volunteer opportunities that YEP members participate in as a group. Some events we have volunteered at in the past include: Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack Day, Gracie Center Popcorn Harvest, Altrusa Spelling Bee, Northern Illinois Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry, YSB Royal Children's Ball, and more. All YEP members are encouraged to participate in at least one outreach event to familiarize with each other and increase understanding of nonprofits. Learn more.
When can my high schooler join YEP?
YEP is open to new and returning members at the beginning of each new school year. Membership deadline is early September.
What is Philanthropy?
Come to a YEP meeting and find out!

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