Youth for Community Improvement (YCI) promotes civic leadership through a 12 week teen led experience resulting in grants to local nonprofits working in areas of high importance to young people.

Youth for Community Improvement (YCI)


YCI, the only non-school, youth grant making committee in Worcester county empowers young people to grow in their civic leadership and make important funding decision to create change in our community.

Over the past 23 years, YCI has engaged over 225 young people and awarded over $350,000 to almost 100 nonprofit organizations across the region.

What is YCI?

YCI is a 12 week youth led program happening in the fall where students come together to identify community issues they care about and award grants to nonprofit organizations working in said areas.

Over the course of the program, participants step into their leadership by facilitating meetings, creating agendas and goals and develop skills in public speaking, consensus building, advocacy and equity.

Together, the group conducts community research, develops a request for proposals, create a grant application and evaluation criteria and review proposals- all leading to $25,000 in grant dollars to local nonprofit organizations.


Who is eligible for YCI?

All high school students in Worcester County who are interested in developing their civic leadership skills, want to support nonprofit organizations and are looking to work with their peers to effect change! Whether this is your first extracurricular or you are an experienced advocate- there is a seat for you.

Each year, GWCF builds a class of high school students- typically in their sophomore and junior year- who are eager to be involved in their community and are able to fully commit to the program. Students can participate for 2 years, and will serve in a further leadership capacity for their 2nd year.

The program requires you to be able to fully participate in the program for 12 weeks in the fall from 4-7pm every Wednesday and be able to get to GWCF’s office in downtown Worcester. A transportation stipend is provided. The WPS calendar is followed.

"This practice is driven by the core belief that everyone, and in particular young people, possess wisdom, strengths, and informative experiences to contribute to the field of philanthropy." - Sarah Shugrue, Senior Program Officer, GWCF