1. The Optimist Club of St Paul begins Youth Appreciation approx. 50 years ago.


2. In the first part of the 1990's we honor 15 students annually and award one $500 scholarship.


3. In 1995, Jim Speckman begins work to create a 501©3 for the Club called the St Paul Friend of Youth Foundation.


4. IRS approval for the Foundation is granted in 1996.


5. Jim Speckman and John Tillotson lead an initial fund drive trying to raise $100,000 in pledges over a three year period with 100% participation of Club membership.


6. By year end 1997 both goals are achieved.


7. 1997, sees 2 scholarships awarded for $1,000 each.


8. In 1998, 3 awards are made followed by 5 awards in 1999 and 2000.


9. In 2001, 15 awards are made for $500 each and the Foundation begins a partnership with Dollars for Scholars.


10. In 2002, 15 awards are made for $750 followed by awards being increased to $1,000 in 2003, and $1500 in 2004. We now award $2000 per scholarship


11. In 2006 we begin a relationship with St Kate's which sees them matching and renewing our awards for up to a 4 year period. This leads to other schools in the ACTC making matching funds available.


12. Since 1997 the St Paul Friend of Youth Foundation has awarded scholarships in excess of $400,000.


13. Club members continue to financially support the Foundation as well as other non-Club members. We have also received support from UBS, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Deluxe, AIG, MMM, Great Clips, Midwest Staffing, Bank Cherokee, Highland Bank, the McKnight Foundation and the St Paul Foundation.


14. The expenses for Youth Appreciation are paid by the Club and the only expenses paid by the foundation have been for tax filing and bonding. These expenses generally total less than $1,000 annually.


15. The Foundation has a current account balance of over $200,000 and this balance produces close to $10,000 for scholarship awards annually.


16. The Foundation Board of Director's are currently all members of the St Paul Optimist Club. The Board can have up to 9 members but at least 5 of them have to be St Paul Optimist Club members


17. A recent study with College Possible has indicated the students we are awarding support have a high probability of obtaining a post-secondary degree. Approx. 90% of our students are of color and the average for students of color in Minnesota in obtaining a degree is 6 years or less is 49%. The study showed our kids with a probability of completing their degrees within 6 years or less at 70%. The average in Minnesota for all students is 62%