Applications now available for the 2024-26 Teen Philanthropy Initiative

High school sophomores invited to apply

KidsMatter recently announced that applications are now open for the junior cohort of the 2024-26 Teen Philanthropy Initiative, which begins in September 2024.

This two-year program gives 30 high school students hands-on experience in philanthropy, including charitable giving, fundraising and community service. Additionally, they can earn college credit through North Central College for related coursework.

During the first year of the program, juniors learn about grant-making. They create a request for proposal to solicit grant proposals from area nonprofits. Once the proposals are submitted, students conduct site visits, evaluate the request and decide how to allocate grant money. As seniors, Teen Philanthropy Initiative students launch a nine-month fundraising campaign, experiencing a variety of ways to solicit donations to be used to support grant-making to local nonprofit organizations the following year.

The Teen Philanthropy Initiative is based on the Three Pillars Initiative, a national 501(c)(3) philanthropic service organization whose mission is to provide teens with comprehensive leadership skills and experiences to ensure the next generation can sustainably impact community philanthropy and civic leadership during their lifetime.

Teen Philanthropy Initiative helps create a stronger awareness of the nonprofit community in students and exposes them to nonprofit careers. Students learn skills for future philanthropic activities, such as charitable investing as well as board and community service, while developing key life and leadership skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, decision making and communication.

Applications are available and must be submitted by Friday, May 3, 2024.

The Teen Philanthropy Initiative is co-chaired by Nina Menis, CEO and executive director of KidsMatter and Mark Trembacki, executive vice president, chief strategy officer at Busey Bank. The program coordinator is Janet Sommerville.

For more information on the program, visit

About KidsMatter: Recognized as Naperville’s proactive, youth oriented human service organization, KidsMatter’s mission is to build resilient kids who say “no” to destructive choices and “yes” to endless possibilities. Established in 2001, KidsMatter has received the Naperville Chamber of Commerce 2014 “NFP of the Year” Award, 2015 “AT&T Investing in Illinois Award” and Illinois Principals Association 2016 “Building School Community Bridges Award” for its work helping young people build developmental assets including positive values, healthy relationships, and self-esteem.

With programming focused on preventing problems in the lives of youth before they start, KidsMatter equips youth and families with essential tools to manage the societal pressures and stress of everyday life through dynamic school and community programs, practical education, resources, and youth recognition. A community leader among nonprofits, KidsMatter harnesses the power of partnership with parents, educators, and an extensive network of community resources to help kids and families thrive.

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