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SMILE Grant-in-Aid

SMILE (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-Aid’s 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 Stephanie Rendler at 847.579.3133 or

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 West Ridge Center.

Easy Ways to Make a SMILE Donation