July 4th Community Resources > Learn More

Scholarships
& Donations

S.M.I.L.E.

Scholarships Mean Involvement in Leisure for Everyone!

We believe everyone in our community should have access to Park District programs regardless of their family’s financial situation.

In 1992, the SMILE Grant-in-Aid program was created to enable families in need of financial assistance the opportunity to participate in Park District programs. Each year SMILE makes it possible for hundreds of residents to participate in camps, sports, lessons and fitness programs.

SMILE is funded through generous donations from Park District of Highland Park residents and local businesses. In the last year, $100,000 in grants were awarded to over 85 Highland Park families through this worthwhile program.

Applying for a SMILE Grant

All Grants-In-Aids are awarded on the basis of need and availability of Grant-In-Aid funds at the time of application. Upon submission of a grant request, families will be notified in 15 working days of their grant status. Questions regarding the Grant-In-Aid program may be directed to 847.579.3101 or scholarships@pdhp.org.

An application form (in English or Spanish) requesting detailed financial information is available at the Recreation Center of Highland Park or download here. Forms must be completed and submitted to the Registration office at the Recreation Center of Highland Park.

Easy Ways to Make a SMILE Donation

  • When registering for a program in person, check the SMILE donation box on your registration form and include the donation amount with your payment.
  • When registering for a program online, click on the “Donate to SMILE” category and pay for your donation at checkout.
  • Mail your donation to the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, 636 Ridge Road, Highland Park, IL 60035.  Checks should be made out to Parks Foundation of Highland Park (designate that this is a SMILE Grant-in-Aid donation).

FYI Grant-in-Aid

Foundation Youth Initiative

Our FYI (Foundation Youth Initiative) Grant-in-Aid Program is available to qualifying Highwood families, and can help cover up to 50% of camp program fees. Our FYI Learn-to-Swim programs are also available for qualifying Highwood families and cover 100% of the fees. Applications for the FYI Learn-to-Swim programs are taken by the Nuestro Center, 847-681-0208.

For more information and to apply for an FYI scholarship, please call 847.579.3101 or email scholarships@pdhp.org.