Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley
(630) 896-7800

Youth Engagement in Philanthropy Grantmaking Fund

Established 2020

YEP membership applications are available February – March of each year, for the following school year. 

Youth Engagement in Philanthropy



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 via Zoom during COVID-19. 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, local nonprofits, gain experience with evaluating grant proposals, allocating funds, go on site visits, making decisions, meet community leaders and participate 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 – Cathy Schwieger
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.

Back row from left to right: Director of Grantmaking Cathy Schwieger, Chad Jimenez, Nick Richard-Thompson, Souts Thavong
Front row from left to right: Daisy Garcia, Debbie Smith, Mariana Martinez, Board Advisor Joyce Hemphill, PhD, Dan Barreiro


Funding for this program provided by


Youth Helping Youth Info Sheet

Promotional Flyer

2021-22 Meeting Calendar




(630) 896-7800