The St. Paul Friend of Youth Foundation was founded in 1996 to recognize the principles 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 1924 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. The Foundation is staffed entirely of volunteers. We have awarded over $400,000 worth of scholarships since 1996.

As education costs have skyrocketed, it has become increasingly imperative to assist motivated but financially challenged students. 100% of the members of 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 $30,000 in scholarships.