IPA Blog

Indiana Youth Councils Press On During COVID-19

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Scott County Youth Grantmaking Council

As high school students watched their lives suddenly unravel, members of Indiana’s youth councils didn’t let that deter them from the work they were doing to support their local community through grantmaking and service. In-person meetings shifted to platforms such as Google Hangouts, GroupMe, Snapchat groups, and Zoom. Check out just some of the highlights of their recent work:

Scott County Community Foundation

Jaime Toppe says that early in the quarantine the Youth Grantmaking Council participated in the Clean Earth Challenge by picking up trash in their neighborhoods and posting pictures of their “social distancing volunteerism” online using the hashtag #CleanEarthChallenge. They then added the project termed “COVID-19 Community Love,” where members could do anything to help out in the community on their own. One member wrote encouraging chalk messages at the hospital, a member and sisters filled bird feeders at nursing homes and added more feeders, and another member and sisters packed boxes of diapers in order for a church to provide home delivery to those who could no longer access the church’s resources. 

Steuben County Community Foundation

The FIST Youth Pod put together this YouTube video to show the community what they were doing to make an impact during the COVID-19 crisis. JoAnna Ness also shared that members organized a card-making project, began sewing masks to donate to those who needed them, and referred to their service as “remote volunteering.” During the shutdown, FIST also finished up its awards of $2,500 in grantmaking to local organizations. 

Noble County Community Foundation

The PULSE Youth Pod proactively used the $2,000 that remained in its budget, focusing on “bridging the generational gap” to make life more bearable for senior citizens in local nursing homes. Margarita White shared that the group partnered with the Salvation Army of Noble County, who matched their $2,000 for a total of $4,000. PULSE purchased items to make activity kits to give to the nursing homes, including items such as crossword puzzle books, word search books, coloring books, paints, and hands-on activities like model cars. Kits were delivered to seven nursing homes in Noble County housing roughly 420 residents. And after hearing of the project, the local public library and Rotary Club jumped in to donate books and magazines to the cause as well. Margarita says, “our hope is to bring a smile and some much-needed fun to our seniors!’

Noble County Community Foundation PULSE Youth Pod's Year End Celebration

Orange County Community Foundation

According to Destany Pingle, the Youth Council had about $5,000 remaining in grant funds not yet awarded for the year. Despite having received applications for funding, the council unanimously decided to donate funds to a local clinic, which was leading the way in Orange County in the fight against COVID-19. “The kids wanted to make sure they could help in the best ways possible, so they decided $1,000 should go toward personal protective equipment, $1,000 toward miscellaneous expenses and $3,000 to aid in testing for COVID-19,” Destany shared.


At the end of the school year councils found creative ways to say ‘goodbye,’ especially to the graduating seniors, through virtual events and acknowledged the difficulty in ending their time together in such an unusual way.

These are just a few of the stories shared by some of Indiana’s 25 youth councils. IPA is proud to support the work of these young philanthropists and our next generation of leaders.

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