Quad Cities Community Foundation’s Teens For Tomorrow Announces Grants
QUAD CITIES, Iowa / Illinois—Participants in the Quad Cities Community Foundation’s Teens for Tomorrow (T4T) program, a youth philanthropy group of high school students, today announced the recipients of the program’s annual grants. The grant recipients will direct the money toward programs that support people disproportionately affected by this year’s economic and educational challenges, including refugees, low-income students, and women displaced from the workforce, among others.
Each year, T4T students gain first-hand experience in philanthropy and the grantmaking process, from exploring community needs and creating grant opportunities to evaluating applicants and, ultimately, awarding grants. With the program running over the past school year, the students were already used to learning and collaborating in pandemic conditions. Meeting remotely over Zoom and observing social distancing protocols did not prevent them from sparking new connections with the community.
“People tend to only be familiar with organizations that directly serve them, not the ones which fill the needs they may not think about,” said Bettendorf High School Junior Noah Raso, who has participated in the program two years in a row. “For me, the key to discovering the depths of my community was joining Teens for Tomorrow.”
According to Kathleen Badejo, grantmaking specialist at the Community Foundation, T4T not only teaches students about philanthropy but also allows them to act on what they have learned in meaningful ways. “Oftentimes in education there’s a dynamic where adults hold all the knowledge and students just have to listen,” said Badejo. “With this program, students and their peers actually get to decide where those dollars go and who they want to support. It’s an empowering experience for them to step into that role of being decision-makers.”
The program is also a valuable tool for community-building among young Quad Citizens. “This is a chance for students all across the Quad Cities region to get to know their peers and find camaraderie with like-minded individuals,” Badejo said. For some students, the impact of the experience outlives the program’s duration. “Some teens have stayed in touch with those organizations and ultimately ended up volunteering for them.”
The six recipients of this year’s Teens for Tomorrow grants are:
- Dress for Success Quad Cities’ HireHER program, to support women on the job search—$1,300
- Project Renewal Inc.’s Summer Youth Program 2021, to support positive educational, recreational, and social-emotional activities—$2,500
- Tapestry Farms, to help refugees overcome barriers—$2,500
- The Literacy Connection Summer School, to support summer tutoring for language development—$500
- Two Rivers YMCA’s College Prep Outreach for Immigrant Parents, to help immigrant parents with their children’s college prep and admissions process—$700
- Well Suited Youth Development Academy, to support wraparound services that help freshman and sophomore boys succeed—$2,500
Applications are currently being accepted from local teenagers who wish to participate in the 2021/22 Teens for Tomorrow Program. “It is my hope that my fellow classmates will take advantage of this program not only to get involved in the here and now, but also to be empowered to make a difference the rest of their lives,” Raso added.