Quad City area high school students to grant $10,000 to local charities


Passion. That’s what Jade Bullock sees reflected in her fellow Teens for Tomorrow members. “I enjoy the whole concept of being in control of helping our community,” said the 17-year-old Davenport Central High School student. “We have a say in who receives what, and what the money goes toward. I feel like we are really making a difference in our community, especially since we know exactly what the money is being used for.”

Bullock is a member of the Teens for Tomorrow (T4T) program, a group of 30 students from Quad Cities-area high schools who, over the course of one year, immerse themselves in the grantmaking process by learning about community needs, developing a grant opportunity, evaluating applications, making site visits, and awarding grants.

Applications for Teens for Tomorrow Grants will become available on January 15, 2017, at T4T Grants and are due on March 1, 2017. Nonprofit organizations located in and serving Rock Island County, Illinois and Scott County, Iowa are eligible to apply.

This year, T4T members decided to focus on four key areas in the community to support, said Lilli Ambort, a 16-year-old Bettendorf High School student. The students will make grants in the areas of education, hunger, mental health, and refugee services. A total of $10,000 will be awarded later this spring. “A lot of us are already involved in organizations in those four areas,” Ambort said, adding that it has been interesting to get a closer look at them through the lens of the program.

The areas chosen were central to needs in the region, which the members learned about through research, a survey, and interviews with community leaders. “We all felt that the areas chosen are issues that stand out the most in our community,” she said. “We also looked at what issues are least looked at and need more focus.”

Ambort said the group has robust discussions when narrowing down which applicants will receive funding and how much. “We discuss and debate and bring up our own points,” she said. “I’m super excited this year to review the applications.”

Bullock is also looking forward to that time. “There will be some spirited debate, I’m sure, but that’s what helps us narrow down who is awarded a grant,” she said. “I like that we all have a say and we all can advocate as strongly as we please for a specific organization. You can really see passion within our group of teenagers, which isn’t always common these days.”

Ambort hopes to see passion and commitment from the applicants as well. “I think that the applicants are going to put their best work out when applying,” she said. “They are asking for grants that they need so I would expect to see some emotion behind the whole project.” 

She hopes to continue with Teens for Tomorrow for another year because it has been such a positive experience. “I love the atmosphere,” she said. “It’s such a great group to be part of.”

Detailed criteria information and grant applications are available online at T4T Grants.

Founded in 2002, Teens for Tomorrow became a permanent program of the Community Foundation in 2010 thanks to an endowment created by Herb and Arlene Elliott, which funds the group’s operations and grants. For more information, or if you know of a high school student interested in making a community impact by joining T4T, contact Kelly Thompson at 563/326-2840 or kellythompson@qccommunityfoundation.org.