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Greetings Friends –

It seems hard to focus on much or to think about anything without putting it into the context of what is happening in our world. While seemingly not enough, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Ukrainian community around the world, particularly in their now war-torn country. Closer to home, we are trying to express that support directly to one of our school communities, St. Nicholas the Ukrainian Cathedral School, which serves recent immigrants from Ukraine. Not surprisingly, the school anticipates a large influx of students in the coming months as families seek refuge here in Chicago. We will be developing a special scholarship fund to help these children settle and get the supports they will need. We will share more in the coming weeks but, for now, please reach out with your thoughts, ideas, and support.  
Amidst challenging times, it is comforting to have some very positive and encouraging news to share.  And, in this instance, it is related to our growing work at Big Shoulders Fund Northwest Indiana.  Through the leadership of a great school principal and new partnership with our Big Shoulders Fund team there, the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation announced a $1.8 million grant to Aquinas Catholic Community School in Merrillville. This grant will be transformative enabling the school to meet the growing demand of students and families in their community. I hope you'll read more below, and, as always, a huge thank you to Beth and Bruce White, and their entire family, for making this all possible for deserving children in Northwest Indiana.

Please be well and safe, and let us collectively keep hope alive for tomorrow's future leaders. Thank you for all you do to make that possible in the Big Shoulders Fund schools!  

All my very best,

Josh Hale
President & CEO
Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, our Chairmen's Advisory Council's Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted a book club with students from multiple Big Shoulders Fund schools. Participants read "Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen?" by Sherri L. Smith, generously provided by EY and supplied by Semicolon Bookstore

To close out the month, three distinguished veterans-Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Vince Stewart, Capt. Ron Seymore, and SMSgt. (Ret.) Sam Jiles-spoke on a panel about their personal experience in the armed forces and what the Tuskegee Airmen meant to them. More than 150 individuals, including students from five Big Shoulders Fund schools, joined in conversation moderated by Big Shoulders Fund Innovation Leader Kristin Ziemke. Thank you to all who helped make this a successful event.
Academic Bowl
On Saturday, February 26, 40 students from six Big Shoulders Fund elementary schools competed in the fifth annual Black History Month Academic Bowl hosted by the Leo High School National Honor Society and Big Shoulders Fund. Students tested their knowledge of Black history. Some rounds consisted of questions, while others showed video clips, played songs, and there was a paper airplane competition in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen. Congratulations to the St. Philip Neri Catholic School team who came in first place and to all of the teams for helping to make this day such a great success!
In the Media

Aquinas Catholic Community School expansion

Big Shoulders Fund Northwest Indiana is excited to announce a $1.25 million donation from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation to add classrooms and renovate Aquinas Catholic Community School in Merrillville this spring, enabling them to serve even more students and families.
Thank you to the White family for this generous gift and for their continued commitment to our mission. 

Click below to learn more from this NWI Times article. 
Learn More
Making A Difference
Thank you to all who joined us at our February Give Back Day at St. Nicholas of Tolentine School. We had more than 50 energized volunteers help us cross off more than two months of work off the school’s to-do list!

It was an extra special day as Big Shoulders Fund Board of Director Fred O’Connor was recognized by Northwestern Mutual with the 2022 Community Service Award for his leadership and dedicated volunteer service with Big Shoulders Fund. As part of this recognition, Big Shoulders Fund received a grant in Fred’s name. Congratulations and thank you, Fred! 
Thank you to our partners at Enchanted Backpack for surprising students at St. Margaret of Scotland with school supplies, playground equipment, clothes, and more last week! Students were thrilled and excited to see all of their new supplies. 

Thank you to the Lavin Family Foundation and longtime Big Shoulders Fund supporter Carol Lavin Bernick for this partnership.
Upcoming Events
This March Madness, join us on the court at the first-ever Big Shoulders Fund 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, hosted by the Teen Board.

Join us to raise funds for the Auxiliary Board Scholarship, which supports nearly 100 students at 7 schools. Whether you register as a team or come as a spectator, it is sure to be a good time!
Join us on Saturday, April 30, from 9 am – 12 pm for our April Give Back Day, hosted by the Big Shoulders Fund Auxiliary Board.

Volunteers will help to clean, organize classrooms, and more at Holy Angels School (750 E. 40th St.).
Make a difference with only three hours of your time!
Sign Up!
Register Today!
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