Future Philanthropists Program
With this unique program, high school students learn the art, science, and business of philanthropy and make decisions about the distribution of $30,000 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.
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 25 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.
Future Philanthropists Program Alumni Leadership Awards
As we teach our students, philanthropy is about making positive change that results in a more just and charitable world. Leadership is about providing a vision that inspires others and a commitment to action. This is the framework around which we strive to recognize and reward Future Philanthropists who best demonstrate these ideals as alumni of FPP during their college years. Through this application process, we encourage them to share the philanthropic and leadership activities and projects they have pursued or are continuing to pursue either on campus or in the community. Each award winner received $1,000 to be applied toward tuition or used to fund the project or activities for which the award was given.
2020 FPP Alumni Award Recipients
Avery Elsner, for her involvement and leadership in the UniPlace community dinner program through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Avery served as Vice President of this registered student organization which is committed to serving the underserved populations of Urbana-Champaign that struggle with food insecurity, including students, local families, and the homeless. The UniPlace dinners have switched to a “to-go” format, now twice a week instead of once, and distributed in the church parking lot by staff members and the student volunteers. Avery has not only learned the ins and out of the many duties that go into the dinners (from making the food to serving it), but also what it takes to put on the dinners from behind the scenes through things like recruiting volunteers and fundraising. She found that her FPP involvement gave her “a sense of confidence regarding her abilities to help in philanthropic endeavors, familiarity with some of the inner workings of philanthropy that came in particularly handy when participating in and brainstorming fundraisers, and a sense of clarity and focus on what’s important to her and her potential to help through active involvement.” Avery will be President of the organization this school year and has chosen to use her award to fund the Uniplace dinners and activities.
Julia Eddelbuettel, for her involvement and leadership in the Cornell University chapter of One Love, a national non-profit focused on educating young people on and raising awareness about relationship health and relationship violence. Julia co-founded the Cornell chapter of One Love and is currently serving as the President. She has established an executive board for the club with vice presidents of programming, outreach, treasury, public relations, and human resources and secretary, and runs the general body meetings. Tailored specifically to the Cornell community, Julia and other One Love facilitators have given workshops for the Greek community leadership, sports teams, and other Cornell organizations. Their goal is to finish training all 25 of facilitators and do workshops for at least 25 campus organizations, in hopes of educating almost 500 Cornell students about the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships, relationship violence, and sexual assault. Julia feels her work with FPP taught her “how to judge what the best means to achieve an end goal is, how to delegate, and how important it is to be flexible and change a plan given uncertain circumstances”. It also taught her how important it is “to surround yourself with people you trust and can delegate to”. Julia has chosen to use her award to fund some of the organization’s activities at Cornell, including planning larger and more impactful events to broaden their reach on campus, as well as participation in a One Love Student Summit to collaborate with student leaders from other campuses.
2020-21 Future Philanthropists Program
We are excited to continue in our 11th consecutive year of the program. In accordance with existing state and local guidelines and regulations, we have developed a set of COVID-19 Guidelines which outline the safeguards and precautions we will be following during the course of the program.
Although the 2019-2020 FPP program year was cut short by Covid-19 and we were unable to hold our Capstone Ceremony, juniors were still able to award $30,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations serving youth. Additionally, the senior cohort raised over $83,000 to support the ongoing Future Philanthropists Program, providing assets to build an endowment for program support and dollars to grant in 2021 and beyond. And through the generosity of a long-time donor, the seniors were also able to award $5,000 in special grants to deserving local nonprofits this year.
Above: Rick and Cheryl King, founders of the Future Philanthropists Program, announce that the FPP Endowment Fund has surpassed one million dollars.
Above: Jane Houseal, Class of 2020, welcomes guests to the 2019 Capstone Ceremony.
Above: Mae Irvin and Christopher Hugh, Class of 2019, prepare their remarks
Above: Parker Phillips, Class of 2020, presents a grant award to Chidori Lively from Sarah's Inn at the 2019 Captstone Ceremony.
Download past issues of our FPP Post: