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Jennie Waldorf: District 58 Foundation has served schools for more than a decade

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 9:32 a.m. CDT

For the Downers Grove District 58 Education Foundation, children are the center of everything.

Since its founding in 2002 by 18 members of the Downers Grove community, the District 58 Education Foundation has enhanced teaching and learning for tens of thousands of preschool through eighth-grade children in District 58. Over the past decade, the foundation has donated more than $400,000 in financial support to help District 58 offer expanded learning opportunities, primarily in the form of annual classroom and building grants. This year alone, the foundation funded more than $35,000 in grants for District 58 schools.

Education-enhancing projects and purchases made possible through the grants program over the years have included interactive technologies such as iPads, Apple TVs and interactive whiteboards; hundreds of books; a virtual frog dissection program; a career exploration program; “road trip” backpacks filled with audiobooks for families; and Rachel’s Challenge, a program fostering a culture of compassion and kindness at District 58’s two middle schools.

The foundation works closely with District 58’s administrative team and technology department to ensure that the projects and purchases funded align with the district’s goals and plans. The foundation also gives a $500 gift to each District 58 school every August.

Thanks to the foundation’s sponsorship of Sneak Preview, District 58’s annual three-day middle school orientation program, all interested incoming seventh-graders participate free of charge. Also at the beginning of each school year, the foundation hosts a luncheon to welcome new teachers to District 58 and the Downers Grove community.

The foundation also hosts two extremely popular annual recognition programs in spring. Select 58 recognizes 58 eighth-graders from the district — 29 from each middle school — for their contributions to school and community. The Distinguished Service Award annually recognizes District 58 employees who exemplify excellence in their jobs.

District 58 is so appreciative of everything this wonderful organization has done for our students over the past decade. What makes all of this support possible?

In addition to strong partnerships with local businesses, corporations and community organizations, as well as donations from families, staff and the community, the foundation hosts two major annual fundraisers. A Feb. 17 game featuring District 58 staff, students and community members taking on the Harlem Wizards drew a sell-out crowd, and the foundation is gearing up for its next big event: a Poi Dog Pondering concert at the Tivoli Theatre on April 5. Stay tuned for details, and check out www.58foundation.org for more information about the District 58 Education Foundation!

Jennie Waldorf is communications coordinator for Downers Grove Grade School District 58, as well as staff liaison and ex-officio board member for the District 58 Education Foundation

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