Youth As Resources

Youth as Resources is a leadership development initiative that offers grant funding to youth-led community service projects.

The funding process, which will start in the 2022-23 school year after a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, is overseen by the YAR board, which is comprised of middle school students.

Youth as Resources supports and promotes young adults as capable community contributors who have valuable ideas and are able to take on responsibilities with energy and skill. It empowers young adults to develop and use their capacity to transform themselves and the world they live in through active participation in the relationships, events and institutions that impact their lives. Youth as resources also fosters partnerships between youth and adults as respectful partners who share power and decision making. It promotes the direct involvement of youth in their communities as productive workers, as agents of change and as advocates for themselves and others and encourages young adults to pursue the acquisition of new knowledge and development of new skills by providing support and challenging opportunities. 

The Youth As Resources model was conceived in the mid-1980s by the National Crime Prevention Council with the idea that young people who feel invested in and valued by their community are less likely to commit crimes against their community. Youth As Resources recognizes youth as valuable resources and engages them as partners with adults in bringing about positive community change.

Youth As Resources began in Racine County in 1996. Original funders include United Way of Racine County, the S.C. Johnson Fund, Racine County, the Racine Community Foundation and private individuals. Since 1996, Youth As Resources has funded 420 community service projects totaling $286,000.

In 2007, Youth As Resources began operating as an investment committee of United Way of Racine County. The Youth As Resources board would make funding recommendations for approval by United Way of Racine County’s Community Investment Committee.

In 2022, Youth as Resources began again after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Youth as Resources board comprised of Mitchell Community School middle school students have begun cultivating their leadership and collaboration skills through regular meetings and a community service project constructing sensory water bottles for Mitchell Community School classrooms. The Youth as Resources board will begin the funding process during the 2022-23 school year. 

Any group of youth (up to age 24) from community organizations, religious communities, schools, classrooms, clubs, service groups and other nonprofit organizations may apply for a grant up to and including $1,000.

YAR grants are awarded to projects that:

  • Are planned, led and implemented by youth with adult advisors.
  • Address a community need or problem clearly and creatively.
  • Can be started and finished by the same group of youth in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Have solid, well-organized plans and a realistic, cost-effective budget.
  • Create and work within the community through the donation of services, talents and materials.
  • Publicize the positive work being done by youth to improve Racine County.
  • Include reflection activities that help youth gain insight into how they can make the world a better place.

Each YAR project must have a sponsoring organization. The sponsoring organization is required to:

  • Assume all liability associated with the project.
  • Demonstrate proof of IRS determination of nonprofit status.
  • Complete and submit the counterterrorism compliance document.
  • Receive and disburse the grant award funds on behalf of the youth group.

Each YAR project budget has three required elements:

  • Project costs such as supplies, materials, rental, transportation, etc.
  • Reflection costs such as photo developing, stickers, embellishments, etc. Each group will receive a blank reflection book to complete and submit; however, the group may also create a PowerPoint presentation, video or other creative form of reflection. Reflection costs may be no more than $35.00.
  • Recognition costs such as certificates for participants, end-of-project celebrations, etc. Recognition costs may be no more than 20% of YAR-funded project costs.

YAR grants cannot be used to cover

  • Overhead costs (rent, electric bills, etc.)
  • Salaries, wages, stipends or honorariums
  • Direct donations to other organizations
  • Capital items (computers, power tools, etc.)
  • Items purchased prior to receiving notification of a grant award for this project
  • Items or supplies that will result in a profit for the group receiving the grant or for other groups

All applications begin with the same eligibility screening questions, youth contact information, fiscal agent information, general questions and terms and conditions. After submitting the application form at www.unitedwayracine.org/youth-resources the individual listed as the youth contact on the application will receive an auto-generated confirmation email. The youth contact must immediately respond to that email with the following attachments:

  • Proof of IRS determination of 501(c)3 status
  • Completed United Way of Racine County YAR Budget Template
  • Title of the group project
  • Name of youth group
  • Because YAR funds youth-implemented community service projects, all communication will be sent to the youth contact person. The youth contact person is responsible for informing the group of all updates and communication received from Youth As Resources.
  • Prior to applying for funding, youth groups are encouraged to review the YAR informational and Q/A videos.
  • The YAR grant application is available online through United Way of Racine County's website.
  • Submitted applications are screened by the Mitchell Community School Coordinator and reviewed by the YAR board.
    • YAR board members may submit questions about the application to be answered by the group during the project presentation video.
  • Applicants are notified by email of the status of their application.
    • Youth groups that submit eligible grant applications are invited to present their project ideas to the YAR board by submitting a project presentation video.
    • Groups that are not invited to submit a video presentation are given specific reasons and encouraged to meet with the Mitchell Community School Coordinator to discuss the grant.
  • The YAR board makes funding recommendations based on the project's ability to meet the funding guidelines and the potential impact of the project.
    • Funding recommendations may contain specific conditions.
    • Submission of a proposal that meets all requirements does not guarantee funding.
    • Recommendations from the YAR pool for grants up to and including $1,000 are approved by United Way of Racine County's Community Investment Committee.
    • The Vice President of Finance and Administration is responsible for monitoring expenditures from the YAR pool and reporting them in the monthly financial reports to the board. 

Please check back later for more information on fund priorities.

Apply for funding

Funding information and the grant application for the 2022-23 school year will be available soon! Please check back later for more information.