Youth Empowered Philanthropy

Youth Empowered Philanthropy (YEP) is a program of the Community Foundation and teaches youth about charitable giving while empowering them to make real decisions, with real money to create an 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.

YEP is a youth philanthropy pod that is structured as a once-a-month meeting, during the school day, for students in grades 10-12. Students have the opportunity to learn about the nonprofit community, boards, charitable giving, and how to be a good steward of funds. Students have grantmaking dollars and collectively decide whom to grant the monies to, while also learning about how to give their time and talent through community volunteer projects. Students also learn a variety of skills such as public speaking, critical thinking, and decision making, from experts throughout the community. 


Why Should You Join?

  • To develop soft skills such as leadership, public speaking, critical thinking and decision making.
  • To build relationships with peers and the nonprofit community.
  • To become more aware of community needs and challenges and learn how to address community needs by serving and giving back to your community.
  • To learn about philanthropy and what it means to be a philanthropist.
  • To serve as community resources and leaders through real decisions, real money, and real impact.


  • For the 2024 -2025 school year, new applicants must be a Sophomore or Junior at North Side, Northrop, Snider, South Side, Wayne, Canterbury, New Haven High School.
  • Be in good academic and behavioral standing.
  • Able to attend a 2-hour meeting once a month from 11 AM – 1 PM.
  • Available to volunteer for monthly service projects as determined by YEP members.

Meeting Dates for 2023-2024:

  • Coming soon!

Youth Empowered Philanthropy (YEP) begins accepting grant applications in December. Nonprofits can submit a short application for operational funding.

  • Applications open on December 13, 2024, and close on January 10, 2025.
  • Applications are short and only take 5-10 minutes to apply.
  • Nonprofits can apply for funding from YEP members.
  • Nonprofits must be located in Allen County and serving Allen County to apply.
  • Grants range between $1,000 – $5,000.
  • All grant applications will be reviewed and decided on by the 28 high school YEP members.
  • Nonprofits that advance will be asked to host a site visit with students via phone, zoom, or in person.
  • Nonprofits will be notified in March on funding decisions.

Looking for YEP student volunteers? Please reach out with your request to yep@cfgfw. All requests will be monitored and approved by the 28 high school members.

  • YEP students only volunteer between the months of October – May. Your project must fall within this timeline.
  • Volunteers are high school students. Your project must be willing to accept volunteers 15 years of age and up.
  • Volunteer time requests will close on December 2, 2024.
  • Nonprofits must be located in Allen County and serving Allen County to apply.
  • All applications will be reviewed and decided on by the YEP members.

The 2023-2024 YEP Cohort consisted of 27 students from Canterbury, Concordia, Homestead, New Haven, Northrop, Northside, Snider, and South Side High Schools. Students meet once a 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. Students received grant applications from over 60 Allen County-based nonprofit organizations. The students reviewed and made notes on each application, placed follow-up phone calls and emails, and conducted 15 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:

  • $4,000 to Four:10 Ministries
  • $4,000 to CHILL, Inc.
  • $2,000 to Fort Wayne Urban League

As the only youth philanthropy pod in Allen County, the Community Foundation sees this as a vital program to teach the next generation about the nonprofit sector and philanthropy.

Without your support, vital initiatives like this would not exist to make impact on the education of youth in the community. 

To learn more, please contact either Jaren or Angela:

Jaren Harmon, CFRM

Donor Engagement Specialist

Angela Stanley

Senior Impact Advisor

You can also contact another member of the Community Impact team.