• Future Philanthropists Program

      The Future Philanthropist Program provides high school students with the opportunity to learn how to be philanthropists and grantmakers.

      Karen Tardy
      Future Philanthropist Program Coordinator

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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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The Future Philanthropists Program has four goals:

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.

To learn more about Philanthropy Mentors for the Future Philanthropist Program, contact Future Philanthropist Coordinator, Karen Tardy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Future Philanthropists Program Alumni Leadership Award    

  This award is open only to FPP alumni to continue your philanthropic leadership during your college years.  When this is open, we invite you to apply for this competitive scholarship of $1,000 to be applied toward your tuition as a rising sophomore, junior or senior.

2018 FPP Alumni Award Recipients

Karina Donayre for her year-long work on a play, The Hidden Project: Dreamers' Stories, that she wrote and directed for the students and faculty of Illinois College, detailing the lives and stories of six undocumented immigrant students and what theor their status as DACA students really means. The play, along with a Q and A session after, was performed this year at her school and has been archived in the College library for further study in years to come.

Emma Seavey for her work with the University of Denver’s Center of Advocacy, Prevention, and Empowerment (CAPE), which supports survivor healing by providing advocacy and support to victims of sexual assault, relationship and gender violence, stalking, and sexual harassment. Emma works as a student liaison and leader on campus, leading workshops, coordinating self-defense classes, and as an educational and supportive resource for survivors.

Amanda Youman for her involvement at Vanderbilt University with VUcept, which strives to empower first-year students and every member of the VU community by creating a more open, diverse, and inclusive environment. Her work as a member of the Executive Board of VUcept involves regular meetings with faculty and other board members, weekly vision sessions, and engaging first-year students to share different stories and perspectives, embrace their authenticity, and to emphasize the importance of self-care.


Click here for the 2018-2019 Future Philanthropists Program Grant Application Request for Proposals

Deadline for application: January 3rd, 2019, 5pm



Juniors and Seniors provided quite an impact at last year's Capstone event. Juniors presented $25,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations serving youth. Seniors raised $120,595 to support the ongoing Future Philanthropists Program, providing assets to build an endowment for program support and dollars to grant in 2019 and beyond.

 Capstone Program

The FPP Capstone, held at Dominican University, May 22nd, 2018.

KT opens Capstone

Karen Tardy welcomes FPP students and guests to the Capstone.

Juniors announcing YEMBA to receive 1000 er

Junior Lawrence Landfair and grant award winners from the Oak Park Women's Guild Jenny Baltsen and Laura McCollough.

Awarding a check

Juniors Isaiah Curry and Claire Mack presenting a grant award to Rick Velasquez and Tiffany Moore from Youth Outreach Services.

Seniors announcing the Sr total

Seniors announce the amount raised this year in support of FPP!

2018 Capstone Photos on this page by Michelle Ptack
Ptack of All Trades Photography

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