Every three years, a group of 25 students (called cohorts) is selected by YPI and provided with $25,000 to use toward an issue facing teens which they feel is under-addressed.
In order to be a member of YPI, students must submit an application that asks them to describe why they believe philanthropy is important. The top 50 applicants are invited to interview and then final selections are made.
The program begins with a weekend retreat where the students get to know each other. YPI strives to create a diverse group with students from a wide range of high schools (public, private, home school, etc.), communities (Tulsa, Jenks, Broken Arrow, Owasso, Sand Springs, Bixby, Sapulpa, etc.) and ethnic and religious backgrounds.
YPI requires a strong commitment from participants because the monthly meetings occur on a school day. During the busy meeting days students work on their philanthropy project, meet community leaders and work though team-building activities. Everything the students experience is meant to further their knowledge and experience in four main areas: Philanthropy, Leadership, Self Knowledge and Community Building.
Each cohort is supported by two adult advisors, but YPI is truly a student-led program. Students choose their focus issue on their own, decide how to use their funds to the greatest effect, schedule guest speakers and even arrange for meals during meeting days.
YPI meetings are held at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa where they enjoy strong support from the university community.