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Fundraising group lends a hand to Homewood SD 153

Lee Bridges District 153 Foundatihelps Homewood resident Elaine Nardi select Christmas tree foundation's lot MartAve. Homewood Friday December 7 2012.

Lee Bridges, of the District 153 Foundation, helps Homewood resident Elaine Nardi select a Christmas tree at the foundation's lot on Martin Ave. in Homewood Friday, December 7, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 8, 2013 6:01AM



Without the help of a fundraising group run by parents, things could be very different at the four schools in Homewood School District 153.

Foundation 153 has been raising money for several years to help pay for various projects in the schools, Supt. Dale Mitchell said.

“It’s been super. It’s really been a strong part of our school district and our community,” Mitchell said.

When the foundation began operating, the goal was to create an opportunity for community involvement for the benefit of the schools.

Consider that mission accomplished.

“The dollars they collect are distributed to the schools and it’s up to the teachers for their creative ideas and plans,” Mitchell said. “They’ve had huge events that bring together people for common goals to support the students.”

The most recent event had volunteers for Foundation 153 selling Christmas trees in downtown Homewood last month. Foundation 153 President Tracie Moxley said the tree sales “were a way to get out in the community in a different way.”

Almost 100 trees were sold and the foundation raised about $2,000, she said.

“It’s something people do spend money on anyway, and it’s a lot of fun,” Moxley said.

She has three children in district schools. The district has about 2,000 students in Willow, Churchill, Millennium and Hart schools.

“Foundation 153 was established about seven years ago to provide funding to the district through a competitive grants process in order to help fund innovative programs that were beyond the district’s budget reach,” Moxley said.

“We support inspired teaching by allowing the staff and teachers in the district the opportunity to submit proposals for equipment or curriculum or programs or field trips that are not funded by the district,” she said. “There are a lot of learning opportunities to be had.”

Foundation 153 has paid for field trips and has brought in a speaker from the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, along with authors of books read by certain classes. In the past year, Foundation 153 helped bring in Smart Boards for all the classrooms. Smart Boards are like blackboards but are compatible with computer programs, the Internet and countless apps.

While Christmas trees were a good fundraiser, others have helped, too.

“We do a 5K run in the fall every year that has grown in size. This year, it netted more than $10,000 and it includes a fun run for the little kids,” she said.

The run takes folks past three schools.

The biggest fundraiser is a dinner and silent auction at Ravisloe Country Club held every spring. That raised about $25,000, she said.

“The community has really embraced the foundation’s goals, and they support what we do. Our fundraisers have been very popular, and Supt. Mitchell has been very supportive. This really does make a difference,” Moxley said.



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