ETHS students give back to the community through philanthropy


While you may have heard of the term “philanthropy” a few times but not really know what it means, a select group of students are becoming experts on the subject.

According to Mary Collins, Community Service Coordinator, The Philanthropy Club is not something new to the school, but it’s an opportunity students won’t get at almost any other area high school.

“It’s teaching students about the processes and opportunities of philanthropy,” says Collins. The process of philanthropy is a long and complex one–students meet once a month throughout the course of the school year. The club usually has 10 to 15 students and anyone is welcome, any time throughout the year.

“At the beginning, they have the opportunity to meet with other philanthropists,” says Collins. This helps the students get an even better understanding of the process they’re about to undergo.

The club is presented with $3,000 at the beginning of the year, and committees from around Evanston are invited to come and make their case for why they should receive money. The club then deliberates and eventually decides to which select few committees they should give money. Each committee they choose has to benefit the Evanston community in some way. The club is sponsored by the Koffend foundation.

“Northwestern started a class like this only two years ago,” says Community Service Program Assistant, Diana Balitaan, “so it’s cool that ETHS has had this experience for students for such a long time.” The difference between the Northwestern and ETHS programs, Balitaan says, is that the Northwestern program has given away $100,000 as opposed to our $3,000.

Holly Cunningham, sophomore, says that before she joined the club freshman year, she knew very little about philanthropy.

“I wrongly assumed that it was something performed strictly by adults,” says Cunningham. “But here at ETHS, students have the chance to perform philanthropy for the Evanston community.” Cunningham is one of two club leaders, along with Rebecca Conover, senior.

Cunningham states that her reason behind joining the club freshman year was that it is “a sure-fire way to make a direct positive difference in the Evanston community.”

Anyone can join the Philanthropy Club throughout the year, though Collins says that it is beneficial to come at the beginning of the year, so students can meet with philanthropists and be there for the entire process.

“It is a small amount of money, but it teaches students the process of philanthropy,” says Collins. “At the same time, no amount of money is too small for these charities.” The club has given money to such organizations as Literature for All of Us,, The Cradle, Evanston Scholars, and the YMCA.

If a student is interested in giving back to the Evanston community, the Philanthropy Club should be right up their alley. All are welcome to the next meeting, which is on Oct. 16 at 7:45. No matter how big or small the amount of money, you’ll be making a difference in Evanston.