Youth Philanthropy

H.A.N.D.S. Foundation

H.A.N.D.S. (Helping Achieve new Direction through Students) is a 18-member student group (six students from each of the three county school systems), grades 8-12 that meets monthly to discuss community needs, review grant requests and allocate funding to projects with an educational focus. The youth group is the result of a collaborative effort between the Dekko Foundation, the Community Foundation and three public school systems in Whitley County.

Members are selected by their school administrators, and are chosen for their leadership capabilities and sound academic record. Once selected as 7th graders, students stay in the program for five years.

In addition to making grants, the group created Charitable Champions, a program where 8th graders learn about nonprofits and then get a chance to grant real dollars to those same nonprofits

Grant requests to the H.A.N.D.S. Foundation are accepted from September through April each year.

Youth philanthropy is alive and well In Whitley County! Members of the H.A.N.D.S. Foundation meet monthly to review funding requests from local educators and hone their leadership skills.

2023 - 2024 H.A.N.D.S. Members


  • Sariah Arnold
  • Sam Bechtold
  • Annie Lortie
  • Lucas Rumschlag
  • Maylan Wagner
  • Kimberly Woodward

Rochelle Sears – HANDS Liasion


  • Kelsee Coil
  • Ethan Hess
  • Jada Peer
  • Evan Powell
  • Eva Refeld
  • Maura Wright
Sondra Cook – HANDS Liasion


  • Sophie Augustus
  • Marissa Rodgers
  • Kohen Schipper
  • Micah Slabach
  • Anna Sickafoose
Shelby Whiteleather – HANDS Liasion

2022 H.A.N.D.S. Grants

Smith Green Schools, digital microscope $ 419
Smith Green Schools, wire supply baskets $ 400
Smith Green Schools, laser cutter $ 518.98
Smith Green Schools, book sets $ 564.94
Smith Green Schools, equipment trailer $2,000
Smith Green Schools, new tablets $ 849.95
Smith Green School, decodable readers $ 639.90
Smith Green Schools, scientific calculators $ 420
ISMS, classroom novels $ 500
Smith Green Schools, vertical jump tester $ 881.10
Smith Green Schools, storage shed $ 679
Royal Families Kids Camp, personal hygiene $ 900
ISMS Two calculator sets $ 885.78
ISMS Charitable Champions Program $5,330


Thank you, Hands!

H.A.N.D.S. Expands Charitable Champions Emerge

“We want the students to learn how to identify what needs exist in their community and develop real-life problem solving skills. Here’s a need or a problem, what can you do?”
Amy Shearer - 8th grade Teacher at Indian Springs Middle School

Charitable Champions Videos

Charitable Champions Workbook

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