Future Philanthropists Program
With this unique program, high school students learn the art and science of philanthropy and make decisions about the distribution of $25,000 in grant funds to worthy local nonprofit organizations. The students also evaluate the impact of their decisions on youth issues as a result of the grants they distribute, and learn to raise funds in an effort to maintain this grant-making effort.
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1. To instill knowledge and understanding of the important role of philanthropy in the community and in society.
2. To give teens a leading role as primary decision makers in the important process of allocating grants to charitable organizations.
3. To teach teens the art and science of fundraising in order to plan and implement activities that result in charitable contributions.
4. To provide opportunities for teens to express and demonstrate volunteer leadership activities in the community.
Juniors from Oak Park-River Forest High School, Fenwick High School and Trinity High School are eligible to apply. Each year approximately 20 students are accepted into this highly competitive program to which they make a two-year commitment. In their junior year the participants learn about philanthropy as it pertains to foundations, non-profits, businesses, etc. They then review grant proposals, decide which requests get funded, and subsequently evaluate the impact of these grants. In their senior year the students learn about the pillars of fund-raising and strive to raise monies in a variety of ways to give back to the program. Adult mentors from the community whose own philanthropy, fund-raising, and volunteer activities are notable provide guidance to both the junior and senior cohorts.
Grant awards are made by the junior cohort in the spring of each year at the Future Philanthropists Program Capstone event, and the fund-raising successes of the senior cohort are announced at this time as well. Every dollar raised goes back into the Future Philanthropist Fund held at the OPRF Community Foundation to help grow and maintain the grant-making by the next group of juniors in the following year. Everyone is invited to contribute to this endowed fund that will continue to provide the resources to educate future philanthropists, while making an impact now to benefit young people in our community.
The Role of Philanthropy Mentors
Adults serve as role models for young people in a variety of ways. We participate as volunteers for nonprofit organizations, as directors on boards and advisory groups and as donors to charitable and civic causes. These are ways we demonstrate our commitment to give something back to the community in order to make it stronger and more sustainable for generations to come. These are behaviors we strive to model for our young people.
This demonstration and modeling of philanthropy is an integral part of the Future Philanthropist Program. The purpose of the Program is to bring active adult community leaders and donors together with young people interested in experiencing a “real life” learning-by-doing philanthropic immersion. Through this mentoring role we hope to help young people attain a higher level of knowledge and understanding of the role of philanthropy in the community as they reach adulthood.
Philanthropy Mentors participate in one of two ways depending on the level of interest and time availability, as Speakers and as Core Mentors.
Future Philanthropists Program Alumni Leadership Award now avaiable
Juniors and Seniors provided quite an impact at last year's Capstone event. Juniors presented $25,000 in grants to ten local nonprofit organizations serving youth. Seniors raised $68,000 to support the ongoing Future Philanthropists Program, providing assets to build an endowment for program support and dollars to grant in 2017 and beyond.
Capstone Photos on this page by Paul Goyette paulgoyettephotography.com/