It may go without saying that the community of Lake Forest offers exemplary education for its school children, but sometimes it’s important to say it and give kudos to those who make it happen. That’s why this year’s Spirit of 67 Foundation fall fundraising event will be more about giving than receiving.
“While we have done luncheons in the past, this year is different,” says Jennifer Wayer, co-chair along with Julie Arseneault. “The theme of this year’s event is expressing our gratitude to our donors and our sponsors. We are very excited to be able to say thank you to every family, every business, and every teacher that has donated time or money to the Spirit of 67 over the years.”
For more than 30 years, the Foundation has been raising money to provide approximately $200,000 in enrichment grants each academic year to district 67 students and teachers. Recent grants have funded DrumFit, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, and the Aquaponics tank—all of which will be showcased at this year’s luncheon. Since its inception in 1985, the Foundation has funded grants worth more than $4.3 million benefitting District 67 schools.
Of particular note, this summer saw the unveiling of the new Haskins Center (at Deerpath Middle School), a 21st century reimagined learning lab environment made possible with a $250,000 Spirit grant to purchase technology and furniture. The center will not only benefit every student who attends 7th and 8th grade in the district, but it will also provide District 67 staff with state-of-the-art environment for professional development activities.
“Any grant that we approve enhances the learning of every student, every day, and in every school,” says Teri Albus, incoming Spirit of 67 Foundation board president. In fact, Albus was among the incoming teachers who opened Deer Path Elementary School in 1988. “I taught 3rd grade there, and my kids go to school there now. I’ve always had a passion for education.”
That passion shines through in this year’s Thanks 4 Giving Inaugural Appreciation Luncheon, which will take place on Friday, October 20 from 11 am to 2:30 pm at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest. It is “inaugural” in its new format, addition of a special guest speaker, and change of venue. Steve Pemberton, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and Global Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, and author of A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home, will speak.
“We are honored and thrilled to have Mr. Steve Pemberton as our guest speaker for this inaugural appreciation luncheon,” Wayer says. “We wanted to find someone who could truly speak about gratitude and appreciation in relation to life and the benefits of fundraising efforts for education.”
Pemberton’s book has been used as a school read selection at numerous high schools and colleges across the country. He inspires audiences across the country sharing his story of triumph over adversity, and his tireless advocacy for the disenfranchised has earned him many accolades. Pemberton lives in Highland Park with his wife and three children.
Also new this year are some changes to the auction format of the luncheon. “We will be doing something very different this year by offering a handful of very special auction items available only on the day of the event at the event,” says Michelle Hirschfield, auction co-chair with Julie Eglite. “We are keeping these under wraps as we want there to be an element of surprise for fun, and maybe some competitive bidding!”
In the week leading up to the event, an online auction named “Raise Your Hand for Education” will include the always-popular teacher-donated auction items, coordinated by Eglite, that offer special time and connections between the students and the teachers.
“We invite and encourage people to come to this year’s special luncheon so that we can show our thanks for all that they have given, and continue to give, to the Spirit of 67,” adds Wayer.
For more information and tickets, visit spiritof67foundation.org.