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Youth group accepting applications for grants

Published: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – The Youth Engaged in Philanthropy group is accepting grant applications for projects aimed at improving the quality of life for all county youth.

The 40-member, youth-led philanthropic organization will grant more than $9,000 to innovative projects that directly involve youth in the development or implementation of the grant proposal. The group awarded $12,186 to seven organizations last year including Conexion Comunidad and Hope Haven.

Projects must fall in the categories of arts and culture, community development, education or health and human services. Applicants may request a maximum of $2,500 and are required to present their proposal to the YEP committee through a site visit or presentation at the March meeting.

Anita Zurburgg, program director for the DeKalb County Community Foundation, said Youth Engaged in Philanthropy has become a popular program, and the DeKalb County Youth Grantmakers Fund the group is charged with distributing is increasingly competitive. Zurburgg said there are more than 15 applications in some years.

The program started when Helen Bozivich, a former Northern Illinois University professor, willed some of her money to the DeKalb County Community Foundation with the request that it foster youth philanthropy.

Zurburgg said this year’s youth group has embodied that spirit and has displayed great innovation, working to make the grant process all online.

“One of the things they are hoping to do is to introduce an online grant-making process. It won’t happen this cycle but they could have it in place for the 2014 process,” she said. “They are a very engaged group this year.”

The program provides opportunities for youth from across DeKalb County to become involved in their communities, learn about philanthropy, and develop leadership skills, Zurburgg said.

Grant applications should be postmarked or received at the DeKalb County Community Foundation office by 5 p.m. Feb. 1. The group will announce its decision about two months after the February deadline.

Applications can be downloaded from dekalbcountyfoundation.org/YEPgrants.html.

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