That’s the Spirit: Home Tour Raises Record Amount for Foundation
By Rebecca Foster-Goodman Beset by continued pandemic-related restrictions, the Spirit of 67 Foundation Planning Committee needed to reimagine its always-popular home tour this year. The committee chose to present outside spaces -- including gardens, outdoor entertainment areas and pool areas -- at six homes in lake Forest on Sept. 30. Participants spread out to enjoy the work of the designers, allowing for social distancing. The event was a huge success, raising a record $85,000 for the Spirit of 67.
Spirit of 67 Foundation Vice President of Communications Anna Theodore, Vice President of Special Events Laurie Whisler and President Kimberly Carris get together after their successful fundraiser.
“It was just what we needed after the fundraising challenges we faced during the pandemic,” proclaims Vice President of Special Events Laurie Whisler. “People were mingling, enjoying the spaces. It was a perfect day that brought the community together after a hard year.”
Since 1985, this all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization has been awarding grants to improve the educational experience for all students in District 67 – at Sheridan, Everett, Cherokee and Deer Path Middle School. The board includes President Kimberly Carris, Whisler and Vice President of Communications Anna Theodore.
Aside from the home tour, which started 17 years ago, another way the Spirit of 67 raises money for grants is the Crosstown Challenge between the four schools. August registration kicks off the challenge, which continues through May. Theodore emphasizes that although an overall winner is declared, each school can benefit even if they don’t take the top spot. “Any school that reaches its participation goal can win an additional thousand dollars in grant money,” she says. “If each school reaches its goal, then each school will receive a thousand dollars. It is a fun way to get everyone involved.” According to Carris, about 80 percent of families participate. “We have thermometers at each school, so the community is able to visualize where each school stands as far as participation,” she says. These women know that the tradition of fulfilling grants will continue to impact the entire community long after their children have moved on from District 67.
“When we make our schools more appealing, we make our community more appealing,” Theodore says.
Grant applications are due at the end of January and must be aligned with the curriculum. “Everyone is welcome to make a suggestion or come up with an idea,” Whisler says. “It is amazing what wishes have been granted through the foundation.” According to the Spirit of 67 website, almost $5.5 million in grants have been issued to the schools since its founding. From science labs to playgrounds, it is difficult to find an area untouched by the Spirit of 67. Notes Theodore, “It is pretty amazing.”
For a complete list of issued grants and other information about the Spirit of 67, visit www.spiritof67foundation.org.