Engaging Youth in Leadership and Community Service

Spring Grant Cycle:

  • Application opens Wednesday, November 15, 2023
  • Applications due Friday, January 26, 2024

If you have questions while working on this form, please contact:
Jessica Fehrenbacher, Program Manager
812-421-0030 ext. 16

What are Make A Difference (MAD) Grants?
MAD Grants allow young people to identify community needs and problems and come up with service projects to help. The most important part of Make a Difference Grants is that it is a service project that allows young people to give back in tangible ways. It is important that the young people are seeing the people and places they serve from the beginning to the end of their project. 

Who qualifies for a MAD Grant?

  • You qualify for a grant if you are a school, church, club, nonprofit or individual student that has backing from a registered 501(c)3 organization.
  • The youth who write, plan, and implement the service project should be in grades K-12.
  • Youth in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey, Gibson, Spencer, Perry, and Henderson (KY) are eligible to apply.

What are the grant requirements?

  • Grant awards range from $100-$750.
  • All grant project ideas must originate from the youth and their interests.
  • Youth must be at the center of the planning, preparation, and the implementation of the service project.
  • Projects must address a real community need and provide a service to others in the community through the youth involved volunteer efforts.
  • The grant projects must take place during the school year. Projects that run the summer are not eligible for funding.

What is a service project?
Example 1:
Dropping off a bag of clothes at a clothing center is a donation.
Volunteering to sort clothes, price them, etc. is service.

Example 2:
Buying blankets for the homeless is a donation.
Sewing or tying blankets for the homeless is service. 

Example 3:
A group collects donations for a homeless shelter.
A group goes to the shelter to prepare, serve and the clean up after a meal.

We ask that groups keep the service and volunteer component at the forefront of their mind when developing their ideas. 

What We Don’t Fund:

  • Capital items (e.g. digital cameras, video cameras & equipment, electronics, pots, pans, electric mixers, etc.)
  • Salaries & wages and overhead costs
  • Rental fees or fees for services (e.g. speakers, registration, camps, bounce houses, DJs, outdoor movie screens, event space/community space rentals, etc.)
  • Direct monetary donations to other agencies or organizations
  • Sales tax
  • T-shirts or other apparel items
  • Gift cards

This is not an exhaustive list. Please reach out to Jessica Fehrenbacher (jessica@youth-resources.org) if you have questions about budget costs.


  • Specific, researched line items with approximate cost
  • Description of use of each item – weight given to items listed that relate to direct performance of service by youth
  • 5% of total grant request for youth recognition (honoring/celebrating students for their service – certificates, stickers, ice cream, etc.)
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