Community Groups Raise More Than $16K For D209 Scholarships

Monday, July 2, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 5:05 p.m.

Featured image: More than 100 people gather on a rooftop in Forest Park on June 28 for a fundraiser that helped raise money for District 209 students. | Alexa Rogals 

During their third annual scholarship fundraiser, held June 28 on the rooftop at Urban Pioneer Group in Forest Park, the community and civic groups 209 Together and Kiwanis Club of Forest Park raised more than $16,000 to benefit students at Proviso East, Proviso West and Proviso Math and Science.

The night’s haul is the most that they’ve raised since starting the scholarship fund three years ago. They raised around $7,500 in each of the first two years. Their goal this year was to match that amount.

And since the event was less than $1,000 to put on, most of that money will go directly toward three deserving students at each of District 209’s campuses $1,000 each.

April Baker, one of the event’s co-organizers, said that around 125 people paid $50 tickets to taste the fare of some of Forest Park’s best chefs. The rooftop vibe came courtesy of Linda Cibula, the owner of the building who donated the space.

209 Together scholarship night_3

Attendees listen to the chefs talk about the food they made for the event on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, during a fundraiser for D209 scholarships on the rooftop of Urban Pioneer Group in Forest Park, Ill.

“I got approached several times by people saying, ‘You don’t know these kids and you came together to do this?’ I’m a realtor, I see people avoiding our area because of Proviso and, to me, it’s just really important to be able to support the kids and make sure they have every opportunity they can.”

Connie Brown, one of the founders of 209 Together who also helped organize the fundraising effort, said that the event was consistent with the organization’s mission.

“Every year, we do internships, volunteer work, anything we can do to improve our schools,” she said, adding that the group always needs volunteers.

209 Together scholarship night 1

Chef Ashley Simone from Zesty Catering makes vegan elotes for attendees on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, during a fundraiser for D209 high school scholarships on the rooftop of Urban Pioneer Group in Forest Park, Ill.

“Our students are the future of our communities and if we support the education of our youth, they go on to learn amazing things and come back to be the leaders and builders of our town,” she said.

The recipients of the scholarships, 209 Together members said, will receive their awards at another event in the coming weeks. VFP 

Full disclosure: The author of this article emceed the June 28 event.  

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly noted that tickets to the fundraiser were $20. They were, in fact, $50. This post has since been updated. VFP regrets the error. 

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One thought on “Community Groups Raise More Than $16K For D209 Scholarships

  1. That is outstanding news! A lot of people doubted that it could never happen. This is a true example of community members coming together, building bridges, and invest in our students’ future can make a wonderful difference. It was a wonderful turnout and to see all the residents in the Proviso Township (Forest Park, Maywood, Bellwood, Melrose Park, Westchester, and all) come together, put a smile to my face. I also want to thank the board members of District 209 and the Superintendent Dr. Jessie Rodriguez for coming out as well. This is just the beginning to move forward!

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