News: Youth Empowered Philanthropy at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne

April 2, 2021 – Fort Wayne, IN – Youth Empowered Philanthropy (YEP), a leadership initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, is completing its first year. This new program exists to empower youth to make decisions with real funding to create a measurable impact in Allen County. The flagship youth pod consisted of ten students from Canterbury High School who met virtually every month to learn about the philanthropic world, active nonprofit organizations in Allen County, and valuable leadership skills.

YEP was provided with $10,000 to use for grants due to the generosity of the Joyce Schlatter Fund at the Community Foundation. The Journal Gazette named Mrs. Schlatter the newspaper’s 1992 Citizen of the Year, citing her as “one of Fort Wayne’s quiet, but forceful, crusaders.” Students received grant applications from 45 Allen County-based nonprofit organizations. The students then reviewed and made notes on each application, placed follow-up phone calls and emails, and conducted site visits. Based on the information they received, students worked as a group to decide which organizations to fund and how much funding to grant them. The organizations the group chose were

Joseph Missions ($3,500)
Out of a Jam ($3,000)
Lexi’s Voice ($1,200)
Gigi’s Playhouse ($2,300).

On top of the grantmaking process, students are working on collectively completing 80 hours of volunteer time between the Impact Center, Science Central, Habitat for Humanity, St. Joseph Missions, and Lexi’s Voice. Reflecting on the process, students talked about how much they had learned about public speaking, small group communication, negotiation skills, critical thinking, and putting the group’s mission at the center of their decision-making process. Students also discussed their new awareness of community needs and challenges, as well as the amazing number and quality of local nonprofit organizations doing impactful work in our community.

YEP will be expanding to more schools in Allen County for the 2021-2022 academic year. More information can be found at, calling 260-426-4083, or

Youth Empowered Philanthropy (YEP), empowers youth to make real decisions, with real money that create real impact in Allen County. YEP strives to make our community a more vibrant place to live, work and play while inspiring philanthropy as a habit for future generations. Youth Empowered Philanthropy, a youth pod for Allen County, was launched by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne in 2020.

For nearly 100 years, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has been a public charitable foundation serving Allen County since 1922. The Community Foundation had assets of approximately $183 million at December 31, 2020 and awarded more than $7.9 million in charitable grants and scholarships in that year. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne does three things: help people make their charitable giving more impactful, connect funding to nonprofits through effective grantmaking, and provide leadership to address community needs to improve quality of life. Every day we connect people and resources to build a more vibrant community.