In 2002, a small group of community members from Lake Forest and Lake Bluff came together to create the Lake Forest High School Foundation. Its purpose was to supplement the outstanding needs of teachers and students within District 115 that weren’t covered by tax dollars. Since its founding, the Foundation has awarded more than 250 grants worth more than $2.1 million.
“The Foundation is changing in how it supports Lake Forest High School,” explains the Jeff Folker, the current chair of the all-volunteer board. “This year, we’ve rebranded ourselves to more align with our new focus of investing in our children’s educational experience.”
The Foundation’s new tagline is “Investing in Educational Excellence.” “We want the community to see us more as an investment body where we will be looking for opportunities to better our school,” Folker says. “The Foundation’s role will be less about buying things for the classroom and more about enhancing our students’ educational experience so they can go off and compete at the highest level wherever life takes them when they graduate.”
To this end, the Foundation accelerated its Grant Day schedule and awarded the grants at the end of February instead of waiting until after the luncheon, which it has done in previous years. “We realized that some times it would take six or eight months for a piece of furniture to be delivered or some equipment to be installed,” says Folker. “We want this grant money to start working for the school now. By awarding the grants sooner, we hope to see their impact in the current school year.”
The Foundation’s annual luncheon is its largest fundraiser and will take place at Exmoor Country Club on Wednesday, April 18. Like the Foundation, the luncheon has been rebranded to “Celebrating Educational Excellence.”
“We know that spring is such a busy time for people so we’ve been working hard to make this luncheon something people really want to come and support,” explains luncheon co-chair, Kathy Beck. “We want it to feel like a real celebration.”
One key difference attendees will notice this year is how the Foundation has engaged with local businesses for this event.
“A lot of businesses really want to help the high school,” explains luncheon co-chair Colette Mendelson who has been leading the development team. “We’ve tried to be creative in how we partner with them so that its beneficial to the business and to us. We also have a number of returning sponsors who are helping at a much greater level than they ever have before. It really feels as if the community is coming together for this event.”
Lake Forest Pediatric Denistry, Pepper Construction, Sunset Foods, Quest Food Management, Fitness Together, Post Net, Molly Flavin, Craig Bergmann Landscape Design, Whimsy—Custom Balloon Décor by Holly Nagel, Knauz, Woodland Foods, Franzcak Radelet, Lyon Martini Group, Aks Allure Salon & Day Spa, Morgan’s Lake Forest Hardware, Kenzy Gifts, and JWC Media are among the gracious sponsors of this event.
To give luncheon attendees an opportunity to see the grant money at work, the Foundation has invited a graduate of Lake Forest High School’s Business Incubator program to speak and explain how they benefitted from this innovative programming that resulted from the Foundation awarding a grant to launch it.
“We really believe we have a responsibility to our community to make our high school the best it can be,” adds Folker. “In seeking opportunities to make smart investments in our children’s educational experience, we can make this happen.”
To learn more about the Lake Forest High School Foundation or to register to attend the luncheon, visit lfhsfoundation.org.