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Youth Engagement in Philanthropy Grantmaking Fund

Established 2020

The YEP membership application for the 2023-2024 school year is now closed.

Students will be notified by the end of May.


Youth Engagement in Philanthropy

Open to high school students attending schools in Kane or Kendall County.



Youth Engagement in Philanthropy (YEP) was created to help local high school students explore and learn more about fundraising, grantmaking and making a difference in the community. The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley wanted to find a way to empower the next generation by providing the opportunity for youth to fund ideas which impact and inspire their community. The Community Foundation values the partnership of Dunham Foundation in making this program available for young people in our community and are grateful for their ongoing support. Together, we are building a future of philanthropy.

There are many different types of agencies and ways to be of service in the community, and many different groups of people to help. Through YEP, we want to make sure that our students are exposed to a wide range of what is available in the community and ways that they can make a difference. We are here to help them with all of it! This is a unique opportunity for youth to be philanthropic in a leadership role while expanding their breadth of experiences and enhancing their resume for future success in organizations and leadership positions during high school, college and beyond.

We meet once a month for business meetings, the first Thursday of the month at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora.  Students will also be asked to participate in at least one service project and one fundraising project during the year. The year culminates with the grantmaking portion of YEP. As a group, YEP members can decide how $25,000 should be allocated to local non-profits in order to create the greatest impact for youth-related causes in the Fox River Valley area. This amazing opportunity benefits not only our YEP members, but also the community at large.

YEP allows youth to be involved with the community foundation and local nonprofits and gain experience evaluating grant proposals, attending site visits, making decisions, allocating funds, meeting community leaders and participating in service projects. Through YEP, students will learn decision-making skills, the importance of community needs, conflict resolution, leadership and planning skills, fundraising skills, advocacy, and cultivating relationships. This is a meaningful way to give back to the community and #BeTheGood.

Adult Advisors & Mentors

Although YEP is a youth-led committee, there are always adults on site.  Adult Advisors are critical to the programming, learning, and leadership of YEP members.  Working together, we are building the future of philanthropy.

Staff Advisor – Jen Borgognoni
Board Advisor – Joyce Hemphill, PhD

Mentors are adult volunteers living in the Fox River Valley area who are experienced working with youth and who are willing to assist in any facet of the initiative.  Mentors also help to support the committees (Fundraising/Grants Committee, Marketing/Communications Committee, and Service/Social Committee) by offering feedback and guidance during meetings.


Pictured from Left to Right: Dr. Joyce Hemphill, Souts Thavong, Debbie Smith and Nick Richard-Thompson.

Funding for this program provided by


Youth Helping Youth Info Sheet

Promotional Flyer

2022-23 Meeting Calendar




As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I was worried about how I was going to pay for books and supplies. This scholarship will allow me to focus more on my studies instead of worrying about how to afford college. I am working to not only create opportunities for myself but to motivate future generations. Thank you so much for helping me along this journey!

Moises J.

Claude & Alice Allen Memorial Scholarship Recipient

There’s no question in my mind that the scholarship I received opened up possibilities.

Marianne Renner

Past Scholarship Recipient & Current Leadership Coach

A community foundation is a donor-driven organization that helps donors custom-design funds that reflect their charitable interests. Through the years, grants from these funds have made a significant impact on our local communities.

Sharon Stredde

President Emeritus

We chose the Community Foundation because of its reputation. It’s well known, established and we can trust them to do the job for us.

Dick Schindel

Richard and Susan Schindel Scholarship Funds

Thank you very much for supporting my college education for these four years. I will never be able to repay you for the opportunity that this scholarship has given to me.

Julia H.

[Renewing Scholarship Recipient] Graduate of Hinkley-Big Rock High School

…you can always start small, even $25 can make a difference. Remember we can’t take our money with us. Even if it’s just your gift of time. Volunteer and get involved.

Cris Anderson

Cristina & Thomas S. Anderson Endowment Fund | Tom & Cris Anderson Colonial Advisory Fund

Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley

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