Iowa And Illinois High school students grant $15,500 to 10 local nonprofits
Philanthropy starts early at the Quad Cities Community Foundation. The Community Foundation’s Teens for Tomorrow (T4T) program gives Quad Cities high schoolers the opportunity to experience the grantmaking process firsthand, awarding real dollars to local nonprofits. Today, the group announced the program’s largest total grant award ever—$15,500 to 10 area organizations working in domestic violence and abuse support, education, the environment, housing, and immigration support.
“A lot of students come into T4T with just a broad idea of what philanthropy means,” said Kaleigh Trammell, grantmaking specialist at the Community Foundation. “Nine months later, they’ve learned how nonprofits function and what kind of support they need. They’ve shaped a grant program to match the needs of the community. They’ve evaluated applications and made final decisions. And it’s not a simulation—they get to discover their own passions and make an actual impact on the community.”
Applications are open through June 15 to become a member of Teens for Tomorrow for the 2022-2023 school year. To learn more and apply, visit www.qccommunityfoundation.org/t4t.
“I joined T4T because I was interested in getting more involved in the community,” said Soli Augspurger, who recently graduated from Davenport Central High School. “I wanted to be able to make an impact on the area I’ve lived in for almost 18 years before leaving for college. T4T has definitely allowed me to do that.”
This year, the Community Foundation’s development team added a brand-new fundraising component to the experience. By meeting with donors, making a case for the value of the program, and soliciting support, the teens were able to increase T4T’s annual budget of $10,000, which is funded by the Herb and Arlene Elliott Endowment, by more than half for this year’s grants. “We are so grateful to the donors who helped us step up our impact this year and to Herb and Arlene for the steadfast support provided through their estate,” said Trammell, adding that Arlene Elliott was a former board member who believed deeply in the T4T program. “Our students have received an incredible education in the power of generosity.”
According to Trammell, the students’ unanimous favorite activity were the visits they made to nonprofits while reviewing applications. “They take on the whole process on their own—making appointments, visiting each organization, and reporting back to the group,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for them to be independent and autonomous and to know that others are relying on them to do their part.”
With each phase of the program, which meets monthly throughout the school year, participants take away skills that will serve them well beyond Teens for Tomorrow.
“After learning about the workings of philanthropy groups and nonprofits, how grant money is distributed and what it can do for a group of people or an area, I’ve begun to see a possible path for my future start to light up,” said Augspurger. “I’ve become really interested in possibly working with or for a nonprofit. Being part of this group has given me the opportunity to explore beyond high school, to think about what approach I want to take to the rest of my life.”
“Of course, we’d love to see these students continue to be involved with us and the work of our community’s nonprofits, but this experience allows them to get involved in whatever community they land in, whether that’s on a campus or in another region,” said Trammell. “They’ve learned how to have discussions with those who may not agree with them, how to be a critical thinker and make decisions, and how to speak confidently and ask good questions. It’s a cliché to say that tomorrow’s leaders are actually leaders today, but they are. Our community’s teenagers are incredible, and this program is a place for them to thrive.”
The following 10 nonprofits received this year’s Teens for Tomorrow grants:
- Hope at the BRICK House, to enhance education of highly at-risk elementary-age children—$750
- Humility Homes and Services, for stability funds for housing relief—$1,500
- Martin Luther King Jr. Center, for its after-school program—$2,500
- Mary Lee House of Refuge, for its self-sufficiency program—$3,000
- Tapestry Farms, to invest in the lives of refugees and their children—$2,500
- The Literacy Connection, for TLC Summer School—$500
- Love Girls Magazine, for mentoring and literacy—$1,000
- Project Renewal, for its 2022 summer youth program—$2,000
- Testimonies of Hope, for holistic resources for youth survivors of domestic violence—$750
- Youth Service Bureau of Rock Island County, for its summer coping camp—$1,000