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The FPP Post

Our quarterly publication provides insights into current program activities and philanthropic trends, and offers news and stories from our alumni and mentors.

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FPP Post April 2023

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The Future Philanthropists Program (FPP) teaches the art, science, and business of philanthropy to the next generation. It does this by providing hands-on experiences in grantmaking, fundraising, and community service through both monthly meetings as well as various community outreach activities during the students’ junior and senior years of high school. Students who reside in Oak Park or River Forest and attend OPRF High District 200, Fenwick, Trinity, and other private schools are eligible to apply for admission. Along with the Program Coordinator, Karen Tardy, adult community volunteer mentors deliver the curriculum and facilitate the activities.

Since FPP’s founding in 2010, FPP juniors have distributed more than $420,000 in grants to 52 nonprofit organizations in Oak Park, River Forest, and bordering communities including Chicago’s Austin Neighborhood. At the same time, seniors have raised contributions totaling almost $900,000, funds that have gone back into the program to cover additional grants and operating expenses each year. Because the seniors consistently raise more money than the juniors grant out, the FPP Endowment Fund has grown exponentially. By wisely investing those funds in the financial markets, the FPP Fund now totals roughly $1,260,000 (as of 2/1/2024). This ensures that FPP teens will continue to positively impact their community in perpetuity..

Juniors from Oak Park-River Forest High School, Fenwick High School, Trinity High School and St. Ignatius College Prep are eligible to apply. Adult mentors from the community whose own philanthropy, fund-raising, and volunteer activities are notable provide guidance to both the junior and senior cohorts. Learn more in our program brochure.

CLass of 2024 FPP

Class of 2024 Cohort: The group includes Vilas Advani, Emerson Amstutz, Lucas Crossman, Josh Curry, Nellie Dargis, Natalie Dauphinee, Sonja de Jong, Nora Derks, Sahiba Dhillon, Roan Doody, William Healy, Zoe Hendrickson, Phyllis Kreiter, Maria Kunigk-Bakalar, Kate Lewis, Avery Lucas, Ashley Mandell, Kathryn Meister, Gabriella Morales, Sebastian Mrotzek, Anthony Ortiz-Ferrer, Brady Sorg, Beatrice Spell, Shea Sturtevant, Max Timchak, Saskia van der Meer, Mara Vogen, Olivia Wangerow, Gabrielle Williams, and Josh Wood.

 

CLass of 2025 FPP

Class of 2025 Cohort: The group includes Leila Ashrafi, Josie Badrinath, Lauren Bromet, CJ Brown, Amy Burna, Norman Carroll, Sadie Collins, Caitlyn Daniel, Hector Davila, Hudson Davis, Sarah Falkenholm, Greg Huseby, Jenny Keane, Will Keyes, Ewan Kim, Lucca Linarez, Laro Martinez-Santos, Maeve Marzec, Sydney Neschis, Liam O'Connor, Mary Olszowka, Dylan Pierce, Violet Plotkin, Anna Ruess, Charlie Scott, Zoie Segbawu, Ben Simon, Warren Vitale, Kate Walby, Will Weber.


Impact

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 into the Future Philanthropist Fund held at the OPRF Community Foundation to support grant-making by the next group of juniors in the following year. Everyone is invited to contribute to this annual fund that will continue to provide the resources to educate future philanthropists, while making an impact now to benefit young people in our community.

 

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Community Service

Students also engage in community service in both their junior and senior years utilizing the concept and practice of Strategic Volunteerism. This unique approach provides students with specific tactics used in civic engagement including service to nonprofits, individual philanthropy, and social advocacy. Students have delivered more than 2,600 hours of community service so far.

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Alumni Spotlight

Sydney RayburnSydney Rayburn

“I find myself not knowing what my next step is until I am in the process of taking it. That being said, I had no idea what my next step out of high school would be—let alone my next step out of college—when I entered FPP. When I started the program, I was not prepared for what was to come. I did not anticipate the range of skills I would develop while thinking on my feet and collaborating with my peers when it came to grant making and fundraising. As I went through the program, I learned by doing. While the educational component provided a robust foundation of philanthropy knowledge, the majority of skills I refined—strategic problem solving, professionalism, and communication—were developed through trial and error.

In a sense, the FPP taught me how to prepare for being unprepared. I now work in sustainability consulting, a career intersection that preparing for being unprepared is a necessity. For myself and my teams, the sustainability regulatory landscape causes a constant shift in client needs. With this comes the need to not only stay informed of evolving regulations, but to be innovative in tailoring our solutions to these changing needs.

My foundation of skills to prepare for the unknown and provide forward-looking solutions would not have been as developed had I participated in FPP. My experiences in FPP not only provided mentorship, community, and a wealth of knowledge, but informed critical skills that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my career.”

The Role of Philanthropy Mentors

FPP 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.

"The students that I have worked with, the things they accomplished, and most importantly the things that I personally learned about philanthropy will be long remembered. I loved the opportunity to be a part of this one-of-a-kind program."

– Cindy Milojevic, former mentor

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