LAKE FOREST – The Spirit of 67 Foundation on April 15 announced its 2016-17 grants, a total of 23 across District 67 schools representing $258,000 in funding.
“We are so proud and humbled that through the tremendous efforts of our entire board, our donors and the businesses who sponsor our various fundraising activities, we are able to gift back over $250,000 of grants benefitting our schools,” said Molly Sarver, president of The Spirit of 67 Foundation.
The Grants Committee spent the day visiting each of the District 67 schools and delivering fantastic news to teachers and students about the grants being funded for the 2016-17 school year. There was an assembly at each of the elementary schools, as well as surprise classroom visits throughout Deerpath Middle School. It was an exciting day for all involved.
“Grant Day is truly a special day. It is at the heart of what The Spirit of 67 Foundation is all about,” said Kathy Ivinjack, vice president of grants for the foundation.
This year’s grants were broken down by categories as follows: Fine Arts received $34,030 in grants; Language Arts received $57,510 in grants; Science received $22,785 in grants; Social Studies received $4,200 in grants; Technology received $9,175 in grants; Wellness received $82,115 in grants; World Language received $3,030 in grants; and Miscellaneous received $45,160 in grants. Some grants, such as the Visiting Author Program, The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and the longstanding Fine Arts Enrichment Presentations Program touch all grades at all schools. Other grants are specific to certain schools and grades, filling a diverse variety of needs across the District.
Included in the grants this year are upgrades to Sheridan School’s Light Bulb Lab and Everett School’s iZone, on the heels of last year’s grant for Cherokee School’s Inspiration Zone. These reimagined learning spaces across the elementary buildings provide students with unlimited opportunities for inquiry learning: asking questions, exploring ideas, creating and designing.
A full description of all of this year’s grants, as well as grants from years past, can be found on The Spirit’s website at www.spiritof67foundation.org.
One grant of particular excitement for the students at Sheridan School is the Revitalizing Outdoor Wellness & Recess at Sheridan School, a grant written and spearheaded by Fourth Grade Students at Sheridan and guided by teacher Lisa Gross. This grant in partnership with District 67 and the City of Lake Forest will provide a much-needed revitalization of the outdoor playground space at Sheridan. The Spirit will be providing the playground equipment researched and selected by the students at Sheridan. The installation of the new outdoor wellness and recess space will happen during the summer of 2017.
The mission of the Spirit of 67 Foundation, which was founded in 1985, is to raise funds and acquire resources to provide enriching educational and cultural experiences for the students, parents, faculty and staff of Lake Forest School District 67 that might not otherwise be provided. Over three decades the Spirit has awarded over $4 million in grants to provide resources and enriching educational and cultural experiences that touch every student in every school, every day. Throughout their education in the district, students benefit from grants in language arts, fine arts, wellness, math, technology, emotional wellness, science, social studies and world language. Many of the grants that have been funded through the years are still in use in our schools today.
The grant process begins at the beginning of each school year and anyone with an idea that fills an unmet need and is supported by the school administration is encouraged to submit a grant to the Foundation.
All grant applications are reviewed by the Grants Committee prior to being presented to the entire Spirit of 67 Foundation Board for approval. The committee is made up of board members and includes parents from all of the District 67 schools as well as a Board of Education representative and a District 67 representative. The review process is interactive with most grant applicants being contacted by the committee with questions and requests for further information.
Decisions are based on the merits of the grant application, the match between the grant and the mission of the foundation as well as the inability to get funding within the school budget. Kathy Ivinjack, Vice President of Grants, sums up the work of the foundation by saying, “The Spirit of 67 Foundation Board works tirelessly throughout the year to raise funds so that we can say yes to educational dreams and innovative ideas. The resources we provide through our grants bring those ideas to life in our schools.”
Submitted by Spirit of 67 in Lake Forest