In 35 years, IPEF has funded $5.3 million of Indian Prairie School District 204’s programs 

People in Team IPEF shirts holding giant check to present to school
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It started as an offshoot organization to help fund an array of fine arts programs. But since its inception 35 years ago, the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation (IPEF) has expanded its support for district initiatives and, to date, has offered $5.3 million in funds.

IPEF collaboration with IPSD 204 to help fund programs

IPEF operates autonomously, but in collaboration with, Indian Prairie School District 204. In the past three-and-a-half decades, the organization has offered up funds toward programs that might not otherwise be possible within the parameters of the regular operating budget.

Trudie Ranson, who serves as executive director of the IPEF, went before the District 204 Board of Education on Monday, Feb. 26, and gave an update on the organization’s activities during this milestone school year.

Since last fall, Ranson said IPEF has offered up $110,000 toward a range of districtwide initiatives. Among them: the ongoing A+ teacher awards and holiday concerts. The organization also has awarded an assortment of teacher innovation grants in core curricular areas.

Helping students in need

Serving students in need reportedly has been another hallmark of IPEF as the organization has grown. A program known as Kid Essentials has benefited more than 5,600 students from low-income and homeless situations this school year.

“It always surprises people when I tell them we have homeless students in our district,” Ranson said. “The last number I saw was 157. We support those students by providing them with things like school supplies, food, clothing, transportation, hygiene kits, medical appointments and more.”

Ranson said IPEF is an ardent supporter of enrichment activities, but also has an established goal of stepping in and ensuring students have the most basic necessities to ensure success.

“We are always happy to help them from our foundation, because these students are our most vulnerable,” she said. “We want to make sure they can focus on the important part of school, which is getting an education.”

Fundraisers to help support IPEF programs

Throughout the year, IPEF initiates multiple fundraising activities for its programs. The charity runners and walkers in last fall’s Team IPEF, for instance, raised $94,646. Ranson said 295 participants took part in the activity.

The upcoming Inspire Gala at the White Eagle Golf Club on Friday, March 8, will be another opportunity to raise funds.

“Important and impactful”

School Board President Laurie Donahue lauded the work of the foundation at the recent board meeting.

“IPEF is something that we all need to be eternally grateful for,” Donahue said. “It’s so important and impactful.”

Ranson, who is in her second year with the organization, said none of IPEF’s initiatives could be carried out with the spirit of collaboration that has made the group’s work possible over the past 35 years.

“We are so blessed to be able to do the work that we do and have such wonderful partners who work with us each and every day,” she said.

Photo courtesy: IPEF

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