Like many grammar schools, St. Odilo School, saintodilo.org,
strives to make up the difference between tuition and the actual
cost to educate students with a variety of fundraisers. Each family
in the school is responsible for selling a fixed number of raffle
tickets each year, with cash winners chosen monthly. Families are
encouraged to sell Fannie May chocolate bars and candy each fall
and spring, raising thousands of additional dollars. The parish
also hosts an annual Mardi Gras Dinner Dance/Auction each year for
school support. This fun evening of food, dancing and bidding
continues to grow each year.
Chicago Jewish High School's most successful fundraiser occurred
during its 10-year anniversary celebration. More than 750 people
gathered and helped raise more than $650,000 for the school's
tuition fund. The event, coordinated by a committee of school
parents, parents of alumni and the director of institutional
advancement, honored faculty and staff and recognized the "pioneer"
students who were part of the first class. cjhs.org
Saints Peter and Paul School in Naperville,
sspeterandpaulschool.com, holds several fundraisers, but if Dave
Fox had to pick his favorite, it would be the annual Fun Run. "The
Fun Run allows our students to get sponsors for a mile run around
our school campus. They enjoy the out-of-uniform day and the
ability to run with their friends in the afternoon, but they are
able to raise money to not only help the community, but to help
their school." The school also holds a golf outing to raise money
for tuition assistance and an annual auction that not only raises
money for the school, but provides a fun night out for
Families at Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines are
passionate about fundraising. "One of our school's
philosophical tenets is to teach and encourage our students to give
back to those less fortunate," says Tim Costello, head of school.
"Our students are very empathetic toward various causes, some close
to home, others farther afield." While they host many fundraisers
throughout the school year, SAA parents and faculty support the
Spring Gala, which helps raise funds to bridge the gap between
operating funds and expenses for the school. Key elements of the
gala include live and silent auctions. Four years ago, the school
added a fund-a-project initiative to the gala repertoire, which
raises tens of thousands of dollars for special "wish list"
projects, such as providing technology in every classroom, theater
department enhancements, a new science lab and equipment, and
faculty professional development.
Oak Park's Alcuin Montessori School's Annual Auction & Gala
takes place each spring and combines the fast-paced action of an
online auction with the fun and elegance of a live auction and
gala, says Alejandra Valera, director of advancement at
Alcuin. This year's live auction is April 26 while the online
auction takes place at alcuin.org a week before the gala and
features a fun e-Bay style auction where people bid for items like
designer purses, hotel stays, clothing and toys.
St. Celestine School in Elmwood Park does many types of
fundraisers throughout the year, but one of its most successful is
the annual fashion show where students, parents, and teachers
become the models. Maria Malo, director of development, says the
school raffles off huge baskets of items donated by the classrooms
and local businesses to raise money. "Even after 75 years, this
tradition has stayed strong," she says, crediting the volunteer
Parents' Club in making sure it stays exciting year after year. The
next fashion show is in the fall.
Keshet's most successful fundraiser is its annual Rainbow
Banquet, which has grown over the last 25 years from 500 guests to
more than 1,400. The 2013 event, which featured The Temptations,
raised more than $250,000 to benefit Keshet's educational
scholarships, vocational training and recreational programs for
individuals with developmental disabilities.
"When an event is about supporting children with disabilities,
those who come out to support it are warm and special people
encompassing a wide spectrum of those who have been personally
touched by a child with disabilities to those who are grateful that
Keshet exists in case they ever need us," says Keshet's Deb
"From a purely fundraising point of view, I think part of the
success can be attributed to the way we engage our donors
throughout the year. Communication is key and at Keshet we
talk to them as much as possible - not just when it's time to ask
for support," Weiner says. keshet.org
Students play a big role in fundraising at Grace Lutheran School
in River Forest, graceriverforest.org. This year students from
preschool through eighth grade raised $13,000 for the school at the
first annual Walk with Grace Walkathon. They also collected 10
wagonloads of food for the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry from
households along the route. A picnic lunch and class games in
Priory Park capped off a morning of fun.
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