LIKE MANY organizations over the past 18 months, the Spirit of 67 board had to reimagine what their fundraising was going to look like this year.
And what a vision they have created. 2021 Home Tour: Outdoor Spaces will be a special event showcasing the beauty of the Lake Forest community, taking place on Thursday, September 30. The Tour will include four to six homes, depending on which ticket level is purchased. Most of the spaces have never been seen by the public. “We found these truly special homes, owned by caring, generous families—all with different, exceptional, and unique attributes,” says Kimberly Carris, president of the Spirit of 67 board. While Carris and other board members ensure that all of the homes are stunningly gorgeous, they also promise that one of the homes “will elevate the whole home tour experience.” Additionally, there will be tasty small bites offered at each of the homes.
Lauren Peters, one of three event co-chairs—along with Lauren Kelly and Edwina Smith—says, “The outdoor spaces format allows guests to approach our event in a totally different way. Typically, the home tour includes a luncheon, and that makes it a much more formal event. Because we will be walking through gardens and across grass this year, the whole thing will feel a little more casual. In fact, we will be offering a walking tour map, so that guests who want to walk the tour with friends wearing workout clothes can do so, while people who want to get dressed up for a day out can do it that way, too! We know how excited our parents are to connect socially post-COVID, and we want this event to offer every option to do so.”
If touring these breathtaking outdoor spaces isn’t enough, each home will feature gorgeous tablescapes from a variety local shops and designers. One of the homes will feature a boutique selling Impressionist and contemporary art, jewelry, and housewares. Spirit of 67 will receive a portion of those proceeds.
Additionally, one of the homes will feature a room highlighting various grants the Spirit of 67 has sponsored over its 38-year history. Laurie Whisler, vice president of the Spirit board, is looking forward to being able to “showcase the grants in our homes. It is very meaningful to show our parents and other members of the community exactly what we do and where the funds we raise are going.”
“We are the sole fundraising arm for the Lake Forest District 67 schools, which are the elementary grades from kindergarten up through eighth grade,” Whisler explains.
“We’re a 501c3 organization,” Carris continues. “Our mission is to raise money every year to provide funds that enhance the educational and cultural experiences for our school community. It is important to note that parents, students, and teachers can all request grants, for anything from special school projects to programs and equipment for the District of 67. We’ve funded improvements to the science labs and libraries. We’ve funded audio-visual systems and playgrounds. And these are just a few examples. Our goal is to have an impact and to touch every student in every school, every day.”
“When the pandemic hit last year, we had to reinvent ourselves, be creative, and raise funds virtually. This year we’re incredibly happy to provide an in-person, outdoor, safe event that will bring our community together,” Carris says.
The Spirit of 67 Home Tour is a highly anticipated event that the community looks forward to each year. In order to do it safely, the board shifted to this outdoor concept and switched from their traditional spring timing to fall.
“One of the things I’ve always been impressed with is how hard-working, flexible, and forward-thinking the Spirit of 67 board and our volunteers are. We really are doing all we can to enhance the education—for not only our children, but for our community’s children. For me, that has always been something I’ve found very impactful,” Whisler says. “It is a fabulous organization to work with—they just get it done.”
Echoing that sentiment is Carris: “The board is a high achieving team that cares deeply about our community, just like our families and the homeowners who are graciously opening their homes for the benefit of our students.”
And while Peters is relatively new to the board, she is no less enthusiastic. “This is going to be a fabulous event! It is truly my perfect day and I think most people will agree. Spending time with friends, outside looking at beautiful spaces (incredibly beautiful … we can’t reveal what homes are on the tour, but they will not disappoint) and raising money for our kids’ schools is just fun. We are pretty lucky that helping our schools looks like this.”
Peters continues, “In addition, we’ve all done a lot of shifting in the past couple of years. Helping our kids learn and stay healthy through COVID-19 quarantines and e-learning has been a huge challenge for teachers and parents alike. This upcoming school year represents a new opportunity for our kids and our teachers to engage in person. At the same time, we are welcoming a new superintendent of schools and the changes that will bring. Coming together as parents to support an event designed to help our schools is a privilege, and this year it represents a fresh start. The best thing we can do as the strong community that we are is to put the challenges of the past couple of years behind us and move forward celebrating that. At the end of the day, we all care about the same thing: our kids and creating the best future possible for them.”
For more information, visit spiritof67foundation.org.