Open for applications through September 1, 2024!

Welcome to Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP)

Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) begins its 16th year as a youth-led committee of the DeKalb County Community Foundation in the fall of 2024. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for youth in DeKalb County.

THANK YOU to the many donors supporting this important youth initiative. And thank you to all our members, alums, advisors, and community partners. Together, we are positively impacting and improving the quality of life for youth in DeKalb County.

About YEP

YEP is youth-led, free, and open to all DeKalb County, IL, high school students. Through monthly meetings and volunteer outreach events, YEP builds leadership, communication, social, and analytical skills. Members learn about nonprofits, philanthropy, and grantmaking. The grantmaking portion includes analyzing grant applications, conducting site visits, and identifying the potential impact on youth in DeKalb County. In May each year, the YEP committee grants over $15,000 to nonprofit and community organizations for various 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.

How to Become a Member

YEP membership applications become available July 1 each year with a September 1 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."

YEP Member

Year in Review

What is YEP and What
do Members do?


How do I join Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP)?
All high school youth interested in joining YEP must complete an annual membership application. Membership applications become available July 1 with September 1 deadline. All applicants receive notification of membership status after the September deadline. Please note: Membership is capped per high school to reflect our desire to be a DeKalb County youth committee.

What is a typical YEP meeting like and where are they held?
YEP meetings occur at the DeKalb County Community Foundation (475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore). Meetings are monthly, led by the youth Executive Committee, and feature a theme or guest speaker to help members better understand philanthropy and grantmaking. September-March and May meetings occur on the 2nd Monday of the month from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Due to the length of grant discussions, the April (grant recommendations) meeting occurs on the 2nd Sunday of the month in the afternoon/evening. The member meeting calendar lists monthly topics, meeting dates, and 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 distributing $15,000+ in grants to nonprofits and community organizations in DeKalb County. During monthly meetings, members learn how to review grant applications and recommend 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 (YEP 2.Pro) is for members who are high school juniors/seniors and have 1+ years of YEP experience. These members identify youth needs in the community and explore ways to address them. The YEP 2.Pro Committee meets during the regularly scheduled YEP member meeting times. 

What is a YEP volunteer event and why should members 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 include: Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack Day, Mobile Food Pantries, YSB Royal Children's Ball, and more. We request all members 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. You are eligible if you live in DeKalb County OR attend a high school in DeKalb County.

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. You are eligible if you live in DeKalb County OR attend a high school in DeKalb County.

I am homeschooled. Can I join YEP?
Yes! YEP is open to ALL high school students in DeKalb County. 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?
The YEP 2.Pro Committee and Fundraising Committee are for juniors/seniors with 1+ years of experience as a YEP member. These subcommittees are additional leadership opportunities for members. Returning members can apply to join one of these subcommittees when they re-apply for YEP each year.

For questions or additional information, please contact YEP Staff Advisor Noah Nordbrock at 815-748-5383 or

Membership Takeaways

Each year in the 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:
  • 1st/2nd year members
  • 3rd/4th year members

Member Survey Results >

YEP Changemakers Scholarship

YEP, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, DeKalb County Community Foundation, YEP Changemakers Scholarship

The YEP Changemakers Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating senior Youth Engaged in Philanthropy member who exemplifies youth philanthropy's values and ideas in the community. This is a one-time $1,000 award for tuition or educational expenses. 

Applicants must be a YEP member with 2+ years of experience. Applications are reviewed by a scholarship committee consisting of the Community Foundation Board, volunteers, and YEP alum.

The YEP Changemakers Scholarship was created in 2022 by member Oliver Keicher. The intention was to recognize and reward members who embrace and value youth philanthropy in the community. Oliver fundraised for YEP in the 2022 Give DeKalb County event to raise $1,000 in donations to cover the inaugural scholarship. Support for future years is made possible through the family of Kurt D. Hudson in his memory. We are extremely grateful for this generous support to honor Kurt's life.

How to Apply: Applications run from February 1 - April 1. Eligible members can apply for the scholarship through the Community Foundation's Universal Application

Past Recipients:

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