Supporting Students Today,
Preparing Students for Tomorrow.
The District 54 Education Foundation is an all-volunteer (501)(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to providing resources and support to District 54 families to ensure the academic and social-emotional success of their children. We cannot expect students to have a willingness to learn if their basic needs are not being met. In District 54, 22% of students qualify for the federal free lunch program. Since its founding in 1987 the Foundation has donated nearly $1 million to fund various initiatives to support these children in our community.
Ongoing efforts rely, in part, on donations from members of the community, like you, who have generously invested in education through the D54 Foundation. While Foundation programs have shifted over the years, its focus has remained the same: supporting our students today and preparing students for tomorrow. The D54 Foundation accomplishes those goals by funding the following.
Since its start in March of 2020, the Crisis Fund has distributed more than $97,000 serving hundreds of District 54 families. Donations made to the crisis Fund are used to purchase groceries, utilities, gas and other essential items for families experiencing financial hardships or other difficult situations. It is imperative that this fund continues to grow to meet the needs in our community.
The Foundation is also committed to raising enough money annually to fund breakfast programs at all District 54 schools. Donations of any size to Food 4 Thought have a direct impact on students’ lives. It costs just $1 a day, or $5 a week, to provide a healthy breakfast to a student; a $200 donation provides breakfast to a child for a full school year. Businesses/corporations and individuals can also sponsor an entire school for a full year with a donation of $10,000.
With your support, the D54 Foundation also awards about $40,000 a year in grants to students from financially struggling families so they can participate in extracurricular activities.
The Foundation also funds Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) enrichment programs at District 54 schools so all students have the opportunity to become innovators, practice collaboration and be prepared for exciting opportunities in their futures. In the past, generous donations from individuals and corporations such as Motorola, Comcast and Sensata have funded Rube Goldberg competitions; Girls in Engineering, Math and Science programs (also known as GEMS Clubs); rocketry programs and other STEM initiatives.
Over the past two years, the D54 Foundation has allocated $60,000 to go toward supporting District 54 students and families through the district’s five food pantries. Prior to COVID-19 pandemic the district’s food pantries serviced 10-20 families per month. They are currently serving 50-75 families per month. This money helps the pantry purchase the most needed items in bulk, to provide a more consistent offering to families.