Youth and Philanthropy Program for High School Students

Youth and Philanthropy (YAP) empowers local 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to take an active role in their community and understand the role of philanthropy in their lives. Participating students come together as grant reviewers to assess community needs and disperse an average of $25,000 each year to organizations addressing those needs. Participants gain skills in consensus building, critical thinking, community needs assessment, and interview techniques.

YAP was first introduced to Tompkins County almost 20 years ago, and now over 200 students from every school district in Tompkins County have participated in the United Way of Tompkins County's Youth and Philanthropy Program.

"Usually as a teenager, you would not expect to be able to deal with $25,000 and act as 'adults.' However, YAP was a student-centered program where all the decisions were made by teenagers. I learned that we can deal with important topics too!"

- Jisoo Ha, Past YAP Participant


The YAP program is led by Myriah Marnell, Assistant Vice President at Tompkins Community Bank and UWTC Board Member with Gregg Houck, Senior Director of Community Impact at United Way of Tompkins County.

Interested in becoming part of the 2023 Fall YAP Program?

YAP is committed to the ideal that EVERYONE can be a philanthropist. We are looking for a diverse group of students with various passions, backgrounds, and skill sets to help make an impact in our community. Our staff and volunteers are excited to support a variety of students as they gain the tools and community insights needed to be part of the next generation of changemakers!

2023 Program Dates and Times

Session 1 - Tuesday, October 24th 5:15pm - 7:30pm

Session 2 - Thursday, October 26th 5:15pm - 7:30pm

Session 3 - Thursday, November 2nd 5:15pm - 7:30pm

Session 4 - Tuesday, November 7th 5:15pm - 7:30pm

Session 5 - Tuesday, November 14th 5:15pm - 7:30pm

Session 6 - Thursday, November 16th 5:15pm - 7:30pm

Session 7 - Tuesday, November 28th 4:30pm - 7:45pm

Grant Award Ceremony - 5:15pm - 7:30pm

Important Information:

Most sessions will be held at the United Way Office at 313 N. Aurora St in Ithaca. 

In person participation is an important aspect of the program; however, accommodations for hybrid participation will be offered.

Students must submit all required forms prior to attending their first session.

Consistent attendance is expected of all participants. Only one absence is allowed during Sessions 1-4, 7 and must be communicated to the program leadership ahead of time. Sessions 5-6 and the Award Ceremony are mandatory for all participants.


Students or Adults Recommending a Student can click on the appropriate link below!

Students DO NOT need a recommendation from an adult to sign-up for the program. This is only a tool for adult mentors in the community to help us connect with potentially interested students.

Student Interest Forms and Student Recommendations Deadline Has Been Extended To Friday, October 20th by 5:00pm.


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Is your organization interested in applying to the YAP Grant Fund?

YAP Grant Application opens Monday, October 2nd.


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Youth and Philanthropy is made possible through the generous support of the Triad Foundation.