Foundation forms Club 116 to help Round Lake-area schools
A private foundation that wants to significantly boost the amount of money it provides to help students and teachers has started a fundraising effort playing off Round Lake Area Unit District 116's number.
Round Lake Area Schools Education Foundation board member Judy Armstrong said the Club 116 fundraising initiative will include perks for certain donors. School board President Kevin Daniels called the idea "terrific" after Armstrong gave a presentation during a meeting Monday.
Armstrong said the foundation distributed $10,000 in grants in 2015-16. Those grants typically go toward classroom resources or educational opportunities not covered by District 116's taxpayer-funded budget.
"This year, we would love to be able to double or triple that ($10,000) number," said Armstrong, a former Round Lake Beach village board trustee.
Armstrong said the education foundation hopes to increase the number of grants it awards by attracting 116 VIP club members who are considered community leaders. Each VIP membership will cost $116.
In return, Club 116 VIP members will receive perks, including an invitation to an end-of-school-year cocktail reception to celebrate the teacher grants, quarterly electronic newsletters with updates on foundation activities and free admission to opening nights for Round Lake High School's spring and fall plays.
Corporations also may join Club 116, but without the VIP perks. Armstrong said corporate members will be asked to contribute $11,600 or $1,160 to the foundation.
There also will be a club for District 116 employees. Participants will have $1.16 per week deducted from paychecks and deposited in a Round Lake Area Schools Educational Foundation bank account.
District 116 spokeswoman Heather Bennett said the nonprofit foundation has been a good partner since it began through the effort of educators and district residents in 2014. The foundation notes the needs of the district, which had 68 percent of 7,353 students listed as low-income by the Illinois State Board of Education in 2015-16.
"We are so pleased with the foundation's work to date," Bennett said. "Their trustees are all community and staff members that are clearly dedicated to improving the educational experience for (District 116) students."
The 2015-16 foundation grants included $4,310 to pay for a Round Lake High School Black Box Theater production and $989 to cover expenses for 43 Round Lake Middle School students to attend an all-day field trip to Chicago.
Armstrong said the cost of the Club 116 memberships and the weekly employee contributions may not seem like much, but they'll add up when combined.
"Together, we can just do great things," she said.