Youth for Community Improvement (YCI)

YCI, the only non-school, youth grant making committee in Worcester county empowers young people to develop leadership skills and make important funding decision to create change in our community. Over the past 22 years, YCI has engaged over 200 young people from diverse racial and economic backgrounds, and awarded over $325,000 to over 85 nonprofit organizations in Worcester County.

YCI GRANT Application Now Open

What is YCI?

YCI is a 12 week youth led program where students come together to identify areas of interest in their community they would like to make a difference in.  Over the course of the program, they facilitate meetings that help them develop skills in public speaking, consensus building and advocacy. Together they develop a request for proposals, create an application and review proposals to award $25,000 in grant dollars to nonprofit organizations.

Learn more about the 2022 Program here.

Who is eligible for YCI?

Each year, the Foundation builds a class of YCI students, typically in their sophomore or junior year in high school. Students can participate for two years. Freshman and Seniors are eligible to apply but should be sure they can make the full commitment as both years bring additional transitions, commitments and challenges. The program requires a commitment of Wednesdays from 4:00 - 6:00pm March - May. We will be running a virtual program in 2022 with some potential in person options. We follow the Worcester Public Schools calendar.

If you're eager to make a difference in your community, interested in learning about nonprofits, and looking to work with your peers to effect change, YCI could be right for you!

We are currently accepting applications for the YCI class of 2022. Applications are accepted until Friday, January 21.

Apply Now!

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

YCI has taught me about how a community is so much more than its individual parts. It's illustrated to me how Worcester is full of many amazing organizations doing beautiful work to engage its youth and minority populations, really making this city thrive and flourish.

YCI Member Class of 2017

YCI In the News

2020 Grantees Awarded

Community-Centric Youth Philanthropy: A Case Study of Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s Youth for Community Improvement Program
Brandeis University's Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, Fall 2020

Youth Community Initiative Gives Student Activists a Voice
Bay State Parent, April 2019


Follow YCI on Instagram

Stay up-to-date with the Foundation's YCI program by following participants on Instagram as they document their grantmaking process from start to finish. 

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