Glenbrook Foundation benefit raises-record breaking amount

Glenbrook Foundation benefit raises-record breaking amount

Jack Davis, staff reporter

The Glenbrook Foundation held its fifth annual “Night of Glenbrook Theater” fundraiser on Saturday, April 29, raising a record-breaking $25,000 to fund various programs that assist both students and teachers within District 225.

The night began with a reception and ended with a viewing of the Glenbrook musical Fiddler on the Roof, according to Sarah Samson, director of development for the foundation. In between, Glenbrook alumni, parents and administrators talked over dinner and watched a film about the foundation’s past projects. Attendees hailed from GBS, Glenbrook North, and evening school, but the joyful atmosphere and overall cause unifies everyone, according to Samson.

“It’s a great night for alumni of the Glenbrooks, school administrators, parents, and friends to get together.” Samson said. “What’s unique about this event is that it unites the communities of Glenview and Northbrook. I think sometimes we tend to look at them as separate, but we’re really coming together for this common purpose.”

According to Nick Mathein, who created a video for the event, the members’ passion for the Glenbrooks made working with them a positive experience.

I loved getting to work on this project,” Mathein said. “[The Foundation] really helped me make a great video because the people who work at the Foundation really do care about bettering the Glenbrooks.”

The Glenbrook Foundation has funded numerous successful projects like teacher innovation grants which serve as a way to inspire teachers to reach for new ideas that advance the learning of students, according to Foundation Chairperson Kristine Schwandner. One such grant from this year helped to integrate virtual reality into world language classrooms.

“[The World Language Department bought virtual reality] devices that students can use to virtually visit other countries, and that enhances their understanding of the culture,” Schwandner said.  “All the Glenbrook students taking Spanish can’t necessarily go to Spain to study, but it really helps bring Spain into the classroom.”

Through a number of different programs such as grants, scholarships, and more, the foundation tries to assist current students and teachers at District 225 schools, according to Samson.

“The mission of our foundation is to enhance and enrich all the educational experiences for all students in District 225,” Samson said. “We’re really interested in bringing innovative technology to the classroom through our teacher innovation grants. We’re also interested in helping our lower-income student population [… by providing] scholarships [and] through different initiatives that we support like the Chromebook initiative.”

Programs like the Chromebook initiative, which supplies the district-required Chromebooks for low-income students to bridge the technological gap, have been central to the foundation’s mission for four years according to Samson. Schwander says this year the Glenbrook Foundation received a record-high $25,000 in donations. Because of the windfall, the foundation has been able to increase its funding in certain projects.

“It’s because the foundation has seen such growth over the years as far as an increase in both donors and contributions that we’re now going to double [our scholarships],” Schwandner said. “In the past we’ve been awarding six total scholarships, and we’re just thrilled that this year we’ll be able to provide 12 total.”

Samson attributes the growing success of the foundation to the heightened publicity of the event. For Samson, the fact that the event sold out in less than a week reflects that more people know about the mission of the foundation and want to get involved.

“We’re really focused on getting the word out to the community about what the mission of our foundation is,” Samson said. “It’s really starting to take hold. We really noticed that with this last benefit […] that people are really understanding what we do, they get behind what we do, and they know what we do is important.”

In a milestone year for the event, the Glenbrook Foundation saw a growth in participation, donations, and funding; an exciting time for the foundation, according to Schwandner.

“We really saw an increase in the parents getting involved, and we’ve also found a way for alumni to get involved too,” Schwandner said. “I think it’s really providing a nice way for these groups of people who care about the Glenbrooks to come together for education.”