Teens for Tomorrow distribute record grant award

High school students participating in the Teens for Tomorrow (T4T) program recently announced the program’s largest total grant award ever.

The Quad Cities Community Foundation’s T4T program gives Quad Cities’ teens the opportunity to experience the grantmaking process firsthand by awarding money to local nonprofits. This year, T4T teens directed $15,500 to 10 area organizations working in domestic violence and abuse support, education, the environment, housing, and immigration support, according to a foundation news release. 

“A lot of students come into T4T with just a broad idea of what philanthropy means,” said Kaleigh Trammell, the foundation’s grantmaking specialist. “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.”

Soli Augspurger, a recent Davenport Central High School graduate, said this about the program: “I joined T4T because I was interested in getting more involved in the community. 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 foundation’s development team added a new 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 by more than half T4T’s annual budget of $10,000. 

The program is funded by the Herb and Arlene Elliott Endowment.

“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 Ms. Trammell. 

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,” Ms. Trammell added.

She said the students’ unanimous favorite activity was 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,” Ms. Augspurger said. “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.”

The following 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.

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