The Youth Endowment Fund was created in 1997 in response to President Bill Clinton's Summit on America's Future. The summit was held in Philadelphia with the purpose of promoting the growth of volunteerism, with a particular focus on the problems of America's youth. Many national corporations and foundations were involved with various contributions to this effort.

The Volunteer Action Center hosted a town meeting in Wood County to determine what could be done locally. Businesses, organizations, and foundations were asked to make commitments related to helping youth. The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation established the Youth Endowment Fund, created to support projects assisting youth in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The fund was established through a transfer of $5,000 from the Foundation's unrestricted funds.