Welcome to Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP)

In the fall of 2022, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) begins its 14th year as a youth-led committee of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. The mission of YEP is to improve the quality of life for youth in DeKalb County.

THANK YOU to the many donors 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 youth-led, free, and open to all high school students in DeKalb County, IL. Through monthly meetings and volunteer outreach events, 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. In May of each year, the YEP committee grants over $13,000 to nonprofit and community organizations for a variety of youth serving programs and projects.

For returning members, YEP offers additional leadership and learning through two subcommittees. The YEP 2.Pro Committee and Fundraising Committee are for juniors and seniors with 1+ years of experience as a member. YEP 2.Pro is a proactive grantmaking committee that works to explore youth issues in DeKalb County and proactively addresses them. The Fundraising Committee works to raise support for YEP through donor asks, written grant requests, and by participating in events such as Give DeKalb County.

YEP membership applications become available in July/August each year with an early-September deadline.

Learn more about YEP membership >

"Not only did my leadership skills improve, but I became more social. I love YEP and I’m so happy that I got to meet so many people. I also learned so much about my community."

2021-2022 YEP Member

2021-2022
Year in Review

What is YEP and What
do Members do?

Membership Takeaways

Each year in our October and April meetings, we survey our members to see what they know about philanthropy and grantmaking. We also ask about takeaways and feedback for improvement of YEP.

Member surveys are divided into two groups:

  • 1st/2nd year members
  • 3rd/4th year members

Member Survey Results >

FAQs

How do I join Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP)?
All high school youth interested in becoming a YEP member must complete an annual application and commitment form. Membership applications become available in July/August with a early-September deadline. All applicants are notified of membership status prior to the September meeting. To reflect our desire to be a DeKalb County youth committee, membership is capped per high school.

What is a typical YEP meeting like and where are they held?
YEP meetings are held in The Freight Room, located inside the DeKalb County Community Foundation at 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore. YEP meetings in October, November, December, January, February, March, and May are held on a weeknight from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. All meetings are led by the youth Executive Committee. Each meeting features a theme or guest speaker to help members better understand philanthropy and grantmaking. The September (orientation) and April (grant recommendations) meetings are a little different in content, meeting length, and meeting times.

What does YEP do?

YEP is a committee of high school students that learn about volunteerism, philanthropy, leadership, and grantmaking through monthly meetings, volunteer events, and special youth-led grant programs (responsive and proactive).

The responsive grant program is for all members. Members are responsible for recommending and distributing $12,000+ in grants to nonprofits and community organizations in DeKalb County. During monthly meetings, members learn the roles of community foundations and nonprofits. Members learn how to distribute grant dollars to address youth-focused needs in our communities. Support for this grant program is possible through the DeKalb County Youth Grant Makers Fund at DeKalb County Community Foundation and ongoing donor generosity to YEP during the Give DeKalb County event. 

The proactive grant program is reserved for YEP members who are high school juniors/seniors and have 1+ years of YEP experience. Members are responsible for identifying youth needs in the community and exploring ways to address them. Time is set aside during most regular YEP meetings for the YEP 2.PRO Committee to meet. 

Does YEP meet on Sundays?
During the year there are two YEP meetings held on a Sunday. The September (orientation) and April (grant recommendations) meetings are all held on a Sunday due to the content and need for a longer meeting.

What is a YEP volunteer event and why do all members need to attend one?
Volunteer events are opportunities for YEP members to participate in community service as a group. Volunteer events may change from year to year. Past events YEP has participated in include: Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack Day, Altrusa Spelling Bee, Northern Illinois Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry, YSB Royal Children's Ball, and more. All YEP members are expected to participate in at least one volunteer event with YEP.

I live outside of DeKalb County, but attend a high school in DeKalb County. Can I join YEP?
Yes! YEP is open to ALL high school students in DeKalb County. If you live in DeKalb County OR attend a high school in DeKalb County, you are eligible to apply.

I live in DeKalb County, but attend a high school outside of DeKalb County. Can I join YEP?
Yes! YEP is open to ALL high school students in DeKalb County. If you live in DeKalb County OR attend a high school in DeKalb County, you are eligible to apply.

I am homeschooled. Can I join YEP?
Yes! All high school students in 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 other students with similar interests from all over DeKalb County.

How do I join the YEP 2.Pro Committee or Fundraising Committee?
YEP offers additional leadership and learning through two sub-committees. The YEP 2.Pro Committee and Fundraising Committee are for juniors/seniors with 1+ years of experience as a YEP member. Returning members can apply to join one of these subcommittees when they fill out their annual membership application.

For questions or additional information, please contact YEP Staff Advisor Noah Nordbrock at 815-748-5383 or noah@dekalbccf.org.

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