I hope you and your family are doing well, and are safe and healthy during this challenging time. As you have heard, school buildings are closed for the remainder of the academic year, but that does not mean that learning and community are not taking place at these beacons of hope in Chicago communities.
Below you will find some highlights from just the last week of the work our team and the schools have been doing to meet the needs of the students, families, and communities during this time through the Big Shoulders Fund COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
In particular, I hope you'll take a moment to listen to this story on NPR about one of our 15 school/restaurant partnerships making food accessible to families in need. This story aired nationally, and we received emails and phone calls from many people who heard the broadcast and are lending their support. Demand is only growing for meals through the food distribution program. We are so lucky to have principals in our schools who always make the most of every opportunity for their students and families and who are now providing services they may have never imagined.
Thus far, nearly 200 individuals have donated more than $750,000 to Big Shoulders Fund's COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help with food accessibility, e-learning support and technology for teachers and students, and scholarships for families affected by the crisis. Thank you for your continued support.
My very best,
President & CEO
Our Lady of Tepeyac Elementary and High School in Little Village.
St. Hilary School in Budlong Woods in the north side of Chicago.
St. Malachy School in the near west side of Chicago.
Academy of St. Benedict the African in Englewood.
Accessibility to food is becoming an even greater need. The numbers of families coming to our food distribution sites has greatly increased over the past week. We are working with a variety of great partners to help meet this need and now have partnerships with 30 restaurants!
NPR Morning Edition recently interviewed Chef Mario Santiago of May St. Café who through our food distribution program partnered with St. Ann School to help provide meals to school families. Thank you to Chef Mario Santiago and the Lavin Family Foundation for making this food program possible.
We recently shared with you about yet another person – a student in one of our schools – doing something heroic. Amid this coronavirus crisis, we need these heroes, and stories about their heroic efforts, to bring the hope we all have and need for the future. And so we pitched the story to the media. Read for yourself and join us in congratulating Darius and his mom for their tremendous work. Read Mayor Lightfoot's twitter post recognizing Darius here!
We are very proud of Big Shoulders Fund Scholar and Our Lady of Tepeyac High School senior Ebany on committing to American University, her top choice! You may recognize Ebany from Big Shoulders Fund Ball last fall.
Big Shoulders Fund staff is working hard to provide schools with distance learning support. From weekly webinars on literacy, math, and social emotional learning to providing free resources to students and families, we are ensuring that our network of students continue to receive a quality-values based education.
Sullivan Leadership Program Fellows
Big Shoulders Fund’s Sullivan Leadership Program Fellows are meeting for weekly “virtual” happy hours to continue collaborating and supporting one another as they navigate this new reality for their schools. These principal fellows have more than risen to the challenge, participating in the food distribution programs, launching rigorous e-learning platforms, and finding their voices in social media to keep their students engaged. As just one example, linked here is a song composed with original lyrics and performed by Principal McKenna Corrigan.
The Sullivan Leadership Program equips early career principals with ‘best in class’ management tools and a collaborative peer community, with the end of goal of increasing principal retention rates in our schools. Thus far, the program has had a 94 year over year retention rate, well above local and national averages.
Click here to view a video about the program and learn more.
If you would like to #LeapIntoAction and share your video, contact Sam Rodriguez.
Join the Big Shoulders Fund Racing Team!
The Big Shoulders Fund Racing Team has set out to break records (we’re talking personal bests) and change children’s lives. Last year, our Racing Team ran both the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Chicago Half Marathon, raising more than $80,000. When you run with Big Shoulders, you’re not alone. We provide the support you need to make your fundraising goal and prepare you to run your best race possible. Put the need for social distancing to good use by running on your own to stay healthy and help a child during these challenging times!
The application deadline for guaranteed entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been extended to June 30, 2020 and the fundraising minimum has been lowered to $1,250 per runner.
Big Shoulders Fund COVID-19 Emergency Fund
To date, Big Shoulders Fund's COVID-19 Emergency Fund has raised $750,000 from nearly 200 donors against a $3 million goal. Thanks to all who have donated. We can provide a peer to peer fundraising platform for those who would like to work towards a goal with their own networks. Please contact Amy Drozda if you are interested in setting up your own fundraising page on our website.
The CARES Act relief initiative now allows taxpayers to deduct up to $300 in cash donations to qualifying organizations without itemizing deductions. This is specifically for those who don’t itemize their deductions and would typically not get any tax benefit for donations. So, if you take the Standard Deduction, starting in 2020, you will be able to deduct a cash donation to Big Shoulders Fund up to $300, in addition to the Standard Deduction.
Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Make a donation to Big Shoulders Fund and receive a 75 percent credit for it on your 2020 Illinois state income taxes. More information is available here. Please contact Amy Drozda with any questions.