global citizen

Allow Good Students Grant $17,000 to Chicagoland Communities

High school students participated in a sixteen-week course that was integrated into their history and civics classes by Allow Good, an Evanston-based nonprofit that empowers youth to take meaningful action in their communities. Partnering with Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and Loyola University Chicago to deliver the curriculum, Allow Good staff trains college student facilitators who are then paired with a public high school classroom where they teach each week.

Throughout the semester, high school students worked towards their ultimate goal of donating $1,000 per class to local nonprofit organizations. The students explored their social identities in the context of the history and social challenges of their communities. They then researched and interacted with local community organizations and conducted their own grant-making process. The program culminates in a grant ceremony held at each high school where the students award the nonprofit of their choice with a $1,000 grant. This semester the program reached over 400 students across five public high schools in seventeen classrooms.

The students awarded grants to a wide variety of nonprofits and causes:

  • King College Prep (Chicago) students chose the IMPACT Family Center (youth and family self-sufficiency).
  • Hyde Park Academy (Chicago) students chose: the Center for Enriched Learning (putting people with developmental disabilities to work); CoderSpace (youth coding training); Girl Forward (opportunity for refugee girls); and the South Side Help Center (strengthening South Side communities).
  • Niles North High School (Skokie) students chose: Best Buddies (ending isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities); The Douglas Center (a ray of light for individuals with special needs); The Harbour (shelter and transitional housing for youth); Hatzalah Chicago (emergency medical responders); the Response Center for Sexual Health (teen sexual health services); and The Talking Farm (urban farming).
  • Senn High School (Chicago) students chose: Alternatives, Inc. (supporting youth experiencing homelessness); Centro Romero (immigrant and refugee self-sufficiency); Inspiration Corporation (a catalyst for self-reliance); the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society (well-being and self-sufficiency of Iraqi/Middle East refugees); the Lakeview Pantry (local food pantry).
  • Evanston high school students involved with Y.O.U. (Youth & Opportunity United) chose Jumpstart (developing critical kindergarten readiness skills).

Allow Good’s goal is to empower youth to take independent action in their communities and build the capacity of their communities throughout their lives. Mark Collins, Director of the Niles Food Pantry (a grant recipient in 2016) observed that, “I can sense that a certain awareness has been instilled within the young participants...not only of themselves, but of their place as members of our community as a whole. It is encouraging to see that students are not only learning about the big picture of what philanthropy means, but are truly processing what they have learned in order to formulate plans of action.”

For more information on how to start a collegiate chapter or bring Allow Good to your high school contact Karin Scott, Program Director at Allow Good, or visit

Allow Good empowers youth through the tools of philanthropy to take meaningful action in their world. We envision a world with engaged youth, inclusive participation, and vibrant communities. We inspire youth to become actively engaged in addressing social challenges throughout their lives. For more information on Allow Good, visit 

Philanthropy = Love of Humans

By: Nia
Nia participated in Allowance for Good's 2015 Global Philanthropy Summit in June, which focused on Global Engagement.

This summer of 2015, I have done a lot of programs but one I will never fail to remember is the Global Philanthropy Summit I did late June. For starters, the majority of kids my age are not even familiar with the word philanthropy. Right on day one the camp taught us what philanthropy truly is. It’s not just for rich people, and it’s a long term commitment and service to groups and organizations. It’s like community service but a full time and forever impact on the group. That idea made me smile because there is such a great joy that comes from giving back to the world and to do it long term seemed like an impact I know I wanted to give.
Nia, center, discussing with other GPS students.

For some, you might not know that philanthropy means the love of humans. Just the thought to being a part of something that can bring love to humans was something that compelled me in immediately. I truly want to thank GPS for the commitment and ideas they gave to me from this camp.

Not to mention, from this wonderful, and inspiring camp lead me to get my backpack for this upcoming school year. One of the speakers was from CAUSEGEAR which is a low-profit group that helps people with economic problems of their low pay in India. I loved their idea and I loved their backpacks and I went home immediately and bought it so now I have it for this school year.

An organization like that, that was helping people in India really made me think about global engagement. During this camp we talked a lot about how to globally change the world, I mean why be small and change only your neighborhood. Go big or go home! At camp we learned about how to be globally engaged and know that the blessed area we live in, is not at all the norm for the rest of the world. We have a lot, and great resources as well. So we should make a change as big as we can and really help the world.

Any student who wants to come to a camp to learn about how they can make a change and get inspiration from leaders should no doubt sign up as soon as they can. This summit was a great impact on me and I can’t wait to grow up and join the world of philanthropy.

Remembering to Look Up -- Lessons from GPS

By: Ross
Ross participated in Allowance for Good's 2015 Global Philanthropy Summit in June, which focused on Global Engagement.

My time at the Allowance for Good Global Philanthropy Summit (GPS) was really eye-opening. One of my goals this summer was expanding my horizons in regards to philanthropy and service. Not only did GPS introduce me to incredibly inspiring organizations and individuals, it also gave me new and interesting tools and perspectives on philanthropy. I think much of the general population views philanthropy as monetary contribution. In reality, it’s so much more. As we learned on day one of GPS, philanthropy is giving your time, talent, treasure, and/or ties.

For example, Harvey Newcomb from Rotary International and Claire Dillon of Art Works Projects taught us about the large role marketing plays in a strong philanthropic campaign. The founder of World Bicycle Relief showed us how giving children bicycles not only allows access to education, but the responsibility of managing of contracts and who is given bikes builds a structured community that is strong and savvy. Lorraine Dillon of Right to be Free showed us how the efforts of one man have changed so many lives.

While we learned so many definitions and facts about philanthropy and ways to give, we learned a lot more by meeting people, and having conversations. I personally prefer a phone call to text or email, and I much prefer a face-to-face conversation to a phone call! At GPS, we not only listened to speakers, but we asked questions. We entered a dialogue about philanthropy. The speakers Allowance for Good chose not only did interesting things, but told interesting stories. They shared with us their experiences, and encouraged us to get out there and make experiences of our own. Experiences that will someday make really interesting stories.

I think my largest takeaway from GPS was this: Philanthropy comes in all shapes and sizes, and the biggest impact we can make is opening our eyes. Looking up from screens and schedules, taking a break from the daily grind to look out that window we sit by every day and noticing something new. Whether it be a birds nest, a squirrel on your neighbor’s roof, or even the way the sunlight shines. The more we look up, the more we SEE. We miss so much by not taking time to experience. Allowance for Good made me realize the importance of looking up. When I look up, I can appreciate my world. I can see what needs fixing and I can do something about it. The Global Philanthropy Summit is surely a week well spent, and taught me lessons that are sure to keep paying off. I encourage everyone who hasn’t yet taken part in a GPS (no matter how involved with Allowance for Good you already are) to spend a week engaging, learning, and experiencing life with your eyes open. Hopefully it will be as rewarding for you as it was for me.

Ross presenting his ideas at the workshop with Chapín Coffee and Right to be Free.