Youth for Community Improvement (YCI) is wrapping up its 20th year by announcing $25,320 in grants to area nonprofits. A program of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, YCI empowers young people from high schools across Worcester County to make a difference in the community. Since 1999, YCI has awarded over $386K in grants to nonprofits and engaged 230 young people in the process.

This year's YCI cohort is made up of twenty-two students from fifteen local high schools. These young participants run the YCI program and over the course of 14 weeks learn about philanthropy, the community, and how to collaborate to create positive change. The grants each cohort awards at YCI's culmination represent their learnings and their values regarding programming that impacts young people.

Three areas of interest were identified for YCI's 2019 grants: academic enrichment of young people, basic needs, and space beautification. YCI received 30 applications and chose to fund 15 programs.

“The organizations we're funding, no matter how big or small, are promoting the change we want to see as young people in the community,” said Ornel, a YCI participant. “Helping nonprofits through YCI grants is inspiring. Before the program, I never thought youth could make a difference like this,” said Michelle, another YCI member.

Members of the community are invited to join YCI and the Foundation in recognizing this year's grant recipients and celebrating the program's 20th year at the upcoming YCI Year-End Celebration slated for December 18 from 4:30 - 6:30 PM at the Worcester PopUp, 20 Franklin Street, Worcester, MA. RSVP online at

Nonprofits receiving funds this year are:

  • Hope Coalition, Youth Parent Dialogues $1,500
  • Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, Leadership Club College Tour $1,000
  • Working for Worcester, Recreation Projects, $2,500
  • African Community Education, Express Yourself for Boys, $2,000
  • The Shine Initiative, Worcester Youth Wellness Summit $2,500
  • Massachusetts Audubon Society/ Broad Meadow Brook, Youth Climate Summit, $2,000
  • Worcester State University, Housing & Gentrification Study, $1,500
  • Regional Environmental Council, YouthGROW $850
  • Regional Environmental Council, UGROW School Gardens, $2,000
  • Rise Above Foundation, Young Adult Advisory Council, $2,000
  • Main IDEA, Teen Arts Leadership Program, $1,000
  • Tasks for Transit, Bus Passes for Students, $250
  • Nativity School of Worcester, Food Pantry $250
  • Pernet Family Health Service, Youth-Led Outings for Families $3,000
  • Worcester Youth Center, Sexual Health Education Program $3,000