About Us


The St. Paul Friend of Youth Foundation was founded in 1996 to recognize the principle of optimism and good citizenship in youth. We seek to honor achievement in the face of adversity and promote excellence in the development of leadership through education. The Foundation grew out of the Optimist Club of St. Paul, which was founded in 1925 and has served over 15,000 local youth since inception. The Foundation’s purpose as a charitable 501( c )3 is to increase our ability to provide funding support to St. Paul youth striving for higher education. We have awarded over $240,000 worth of scholarships since 1996.


As education costs have skyrocketed, it has become increasingly imperative to assist motivated but financially challenged students. 100% of members or the Optimist Club of St. Paul have donated to the St. Paul Friend of Youth Foundation.


Each year the St. Paul Friend of Youth Foundation petitions all schools in the city of St. Paul for students who have succeeded academically and civically in the face of adversity. This adversity could be economic, familial or from disability. Fifteen youth are objectively selected and honored in a Youth Appreciation evening. Last year, we awarded over $20,000 in scholarships.


In 2006, we formed an alliance with the following colleges: St. Catherine’s, Macalester, Hamline, St. Thomas and Augsburg. These schools have agreed to match our scholarship award and then renew this award annually for up to 4 years. This makes our current $1500 award potentially $7500 over four years. 




St. Paul Friend of Youth Foundation

Honoring Acheivement in the Face of Adversity, and Supporting Higher Education


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