YEP students hope to raise $12,500 as part of Giving Tuesday
Twenty-one students from seven Fox Valley high schools hope to raise $12,500 this week as part of a Giving Tuesday challenge for members of the Youth Engagement in Philanthropy.
Sarah Shoaff, a senior at Rosary High School in Aurora and the YEP chair for 2020-21, said members are using email and other social media as part of their appeal for donations.
YEP has also collaborated with a Chipotle restaurant at 848 N. Route 59, Ste. 106, in Aurora for a fundraiser this weekend. From 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, 33% of the proceeds will be donated to YEP when customers use the code QC6GC9T in the online promo field when ordering for pickup.
YEP was launched in the 2019-20 school year with a $25,000 grant from the Dunham Fund. Students initially focused on the process of allocating grants.
"This year, we are adding the fundraising aspect," Shoaff said. "Our goal is to raise $12,500 from the members of YEP, and the Dunham Fund will match it to help us reach our goal of $25,000."
YEP, a program of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (formally known as the Aurora Foundation), serves Kendall County, the Tri-Cities and the greater Aurora area. Foundation funds are used to provide grants to nonprofits and scholarships to area students.
According to Julie Christman, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, YEP was modeled on similar youth advisory groups for Michigan community foundations. Through YEP, Christman hopes to help develop the next generation of involved community philanthropists who subscribe to the organization's motto of "Youth Helping Youth."
"I was super-excited that I got to prioritize the needs I saw into my community," said Kayla Walker, a junior at West Aurora High School who is the YEP grants committee chair.
Walker said the hardest aspect of YEP last year was saying "no" to grant applicants.
According to Christman, 21 agencies applied for YEP grants last year. The YEP students divided into three groups and reviewed seven agencies each and brought their top three or four choices to a final allocation meeting. Nine organizations, including African American Men of Unity and World Relief DuPage/Aurora, received YEP funds.
With the added responsibility of fundraising, Christman feels the YEP students will take more ownership of the organization.
"They're doing all of the work," Christman said of YEP members. "One thing we told them from the get-go last year was that it's really their program, and we're here for support."
For more information, visit cffrv.org/yep-giving-tuesday.