Financial hardships make it challenging to meet basic household needs which creates a barrier for student focus and learning. School District 54 students are your neighbors, your prospective employees or partners, your community’s future. Let’s give them the tools they need to be successful students today, and the leaders of tomorrow. That’s why we launched the Caring for Our Community Campaign in October 2022.
Will you support our goal of raising $100,000 for our Families in Crisis Fund in one year’s time? We are looking for individuals, businesses and organizations who will meet the challenge and become official Families in Crisis Fund Community Partners by donating a minimum of $1,000 online at d54foundation.org/donate or by contacting our fundraising team at [email protected].
What is the D54 Families in Crisis Fund?
The COVID-19 public health crisis and deepening economic crisis had a profound effect on communities across the nation, including ours. Some families in our community are experiencing financial hardships that make it challenging for them to meet basic household needs. Financial insecurity impacts the way students in our district experience the world and can make it difficult for them to focus on learning.
The District 54 Education Foundation started the Families in Crisis Fund in 2020 to provide critical financial assistance to families in the district. Donations made to the Families in Crisis Fund make it possible for families to afford groceries, utilities, gas and other essential items.
How does it work?
The Families in Crisis Fund is operated by the D54 Education Foundation. The Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization that raises funds to support programs not fully funded by school budgets or tax dollars. The Families in Crisis Fund was created to provide support to families experiencing financial hardships or troubled situations.
District 54 is fortunate to have social workers onsite at schools working directly with students. The social workers provide counseling to students and address issues that may affect academic performance. As part of this process, they assess student needs for things such as food and clothing. The social workers then request funds from the Families in Crisis Fund. The strength of the Families in Crisis Fund is that it allows social workers the flexibility to request funds to support the diverse needs of families across the district.
Impact to Date
Because of the generosity of donors, the Families in Crisis Fund has distributed $150,000 to hundreds of District 54 families since March 2020.
“The Families in Crisis fund has completely changed the way that we are able to support families. Before the Families in Crisis fund, we had to spend so much time (often without success) to find even $30 to buy a student a blanket, weekend food, shoes, etc. Staff consistently ended up spending more of their own money to provide these items for students because the funds weren’t available in the community. I can’t say enough how much staff and families appreciate quick and easy access to a fund to meet basic student and family needs.” – School District 54 Social Worker
An Eisenhower family had recently qualified as McKinney Vento. When the social worker inquired about the family’s situation and needs, it was apparent that this family was in a tough situation and needed help. An aunt had taken in her niece and nephew over the summer due to their mother becoming homeless and struggling with her own mental health. The children were coming into a full house as the aunt has a child of her own and had already taken in two other nephews due to her brother’s death. This aunt was not prepared to have 4 extra children living in her home. Luckily she will be moving into a larger apartment soon, but for now the children are sleeping on the floor. Fortunately the crisis fund was able to purchase some mattresses and bedding for this family so that the kids do not have to sleep on the floor any longer. The family is so appreciative of this support and it will have a large impact on the children’s sleep and overall functioning.
I am a single mother of two boys, widowed in the summer of 2021. We lost everything in two minutes. I had no income, no car and was struggling to apply for social security survivor benefits. I appreciate the summer camp opportunities for my boys, that I can provide them with healthy food and warm clothes with support from the Foundation.
I could barely keep food on the table and then having to worry about the holidays for my children too, was stressful to say the least. Being able to use the gift cards to give my kids a Christmas honestly gave me hope when I had no one left and no where else to turn.
Last year I became chronically ill and was not able to do much physically and financially. I was feeling bad and like a failure. The crisis fund made a huge difference in my household. Without the help I am not sure how I can go on. Words can’t explain how thankful I am for this program. It allows low income families like myself to make it.
The monthly support has helped me in so many ways as far as buying medical supplies for my son to help with his illness, groceries and sometimes house hold supplies. I am very grateful for the crisis fund.
My family and I are so very grateful for this foundation. When the weather was getting colder and my two students were in need of winter wear one phone call to the social worker was all we needed for help. We were helped right away!! I was able to purchase warm boots/shoes as well as a coat and snow pants. Thank you District 54.