Future Philanthropists Program
The Future Philanthropist Program provides high school students with the opportunity to learn how to be philanthropists and grantmakers. With this unique program, high school students learn the art, science, and business of philanthropy and make decisions about the distribution of $50,000 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.
We are excited to continue in our 12th 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.
The Future Philanthropists Program has four goals:
- To instill knowledge and understanding of the important role of philanthropy in the community and in society.
- To give teens a leading role as primary decision makers in the important process of allocating grants to charitable organizations.
- To teach teens the art and science of fundraising in order to plan and implement activities that result in charitable contributions.
- 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, Trinity High School and St. Ignatius College Prep 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.
Because the 2020-2021 FPP program year was almost entirely virtual, we were unable to hold our traditional Capstone Ceremony. However, the junior cohort was still able to award $41,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations serving youth. Additionally, the senior cohort raised over $109,000 to support the ongoing Future Philanthropists Program, providing assets to build an endowment for program support and dollars to grant in 2022 and beyond.
In lieu of our end of year Capstone Ceremony the junior and seniors created a video outlining their exceptional year. You can view the video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNygGNE0Bq0
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 Recipient:
Kayla York, FPP Class of 2017
It is with great pride that we announce the 2021 winner of the Alumni Leadership Award.
After her involvement with the Future Philanthropists Program in high school, Kayla continued her philanthropic efforts throughout her college career at Howard University where she earned a double major in Economics and Political Science. Even while completing rigorous studies, she managed to volunteer at an orphanage in Cape Town, and assist with orientation for incoming students.
During her senior year, which happened virtually like so many other things this past year, Kayla had what she described as a "full circle moment" – she was able to actually begin doing the work that she had championed as an FPP junior, mentoring and tutoring students. This past year Kayla spent over 100 hours volunteering at Power of Partnerships, during which she mentored and tutored students from Oak Park and Chicago elementary schools, facilitated Peace Circles, created agendas for a variety of educational initiatives, all while bringing in new mentors and tutors to the program. The leadership of Power of Partnerships was so impressed with Kayla and her ability to inspire and teach that they asked her to help co-lead the program. Of course, this only reinforced what we knew of Kayla from her time with us in the FPP program.
In fact, Kayla is so committed to giving back, she is splitting her $2,000 award. She is using half to pay down student debt and donating half to the Renew 312 program at the OP Public Library. The Renew 312 program is a new program which promotes collaboration between Oak Park and the Austin neighborhood in an effort to provide sustainable economic growth in both communities.
We congratulate Kayla York for all her achievements and can’t wait to see what she does next!
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.