Evanston philanthropist Col. Jennifer Pritzker, whose bid last year to convert the historic Harley Clarke mansion to a hotel was rejected by the City Council, has made a $300,000 grant through her Tawani Foundation to Foundation 65 that supports the Evanston/Skokie District 65 public schools.
The announcement of the grant was made today by Foundation 65 Executive Director Lise Jinno, who described the donation as “a game-changer” for the district.
Under the terms of the grant, Foundation 65 will receive $50,000 a year for the next three years, plus another $50,000 per year that is conditioned upon matching funds being received by the Foundation, “hopefully from new donors,” Jinno said.
In its most recent annual report, Foundation 65 listed contributions for the year ending June 30, 2013, of $354,000, including a gift from the Tawani Foundation that was listed in the $10,000-$30,000 range.
Among the programs supported by Foundation 65 are a summer reading program that engages students in ways that is designed to forestall the annual achievement decline that occurs when students have a long break from the classroom.
“We have shown that investing private dollars in public education can allow the District to explore innovative, ground-breaking ways to improve education, within a framework that is accountable and measurable,” the report states.
In announcing the grant, Col. Pritzker said “I am a parent, grandparent, and resident of Evanston. It is my pleasure to join with other parents and residents to help provide strong schools and teachers. Together, we transform the lives of children to make a thriving and successful community.”