The Youth Leadership and Philanthropy Initiative (YLPI) is an innovative program designed to engage youth in the responsibility and privilege of working to improve the communities they live in.

"By participating in YLPI, I Have been able to realize the importance of service, communication, and leadership. YLPI has given me the opportunity to invest my time, talent, and treasure into a community that means so much to me."

-Madeline Sluss,
YLPI President

YLPI was established in 2011 by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky to facilitate a partnership between young, energetic members of the community who represent its future and the people and established organizations already working to solve problems and maximize assets.


Since inception, YLPI has worked with over 20 young people. Its members participate in leadership development activities (learning transferable skills that will benefit them in college and as adults); they plan and lead community service projects; but most importantly, they raise funds and make grants to youth-led or youth-directed programs.



Grants & Scholarships

  • Conduct annual peer assessment to develop youth grant-making strategies
  • Issued $1500 in grants
  • Supported STEM education, arts education and programming

Civic & Non-Profit Engagement

  • 2012 - House Build & training with Housing Development Alliance (2 homes under roof)
  • 2013 - Town Hall Forums for local candidate debate
  • 2013 - Rotary Club Panel on youth engagement and philanthropy
  • 2013 - Appalachia’s Bright Future Conference
  • 2014 & 2015 - SOAR Summit and working Committee meetings
  • 2014, 2015, & 2016 - Initiated the “Lend a Hand” Food & Baby Pantry Drives. The drive is a door-to-door opportunity in Buckhorn, Gays Creek, Chavies, Woodland Park, and Ridgeview communities. After 2 very successful years, we collected food that provided over 700 meals at Corner Haven, and have helped stock the shelves with much needed baby items at KIDS.
  • 2014 & 2015 - Appalachian Youth Summit hosted by Teach For America

Leadership Development

  • Michigan Council of Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Institute
  • Leader in Me
  • 7 Habits of an Effective Leader
  • Life Adventure Center – Team Building/Leadership Development
  • Investing in Kentucky’s Future, partnering with Foundation for Healthy Kentucky, to facilitate an understanding of local anti-smoking policies within our school districts, and develop a voice based in grassroots community support, in hopes of presenting to both school boards. The goal is to create enough community support to encourage our schools to enforce current district policies on smoking on school campuses.