Taxpayers owe Fran Caan a debt of gratitude, as she saves them nearly $500,000 yearly on improvements at Evanston Township High School.
Caan is executive director of the ETHS Educational Foundation, which has raised more than $461,000 so far this year, much of which is earmarked for construction of a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing laboratory that will prepare students for careers in manufacturing.
Caan presented her annual report Monday night to the District 202 School Board and told how she and her small staff conduct direct mail campaigns, hold special events, utilize social media, solicit major gifts, and encourage alumni and retired faculty to remember ETHS in their wills.
In addition to making annual financial contributions to the school, Caan said, the foundation has amassed an endowment of nearly $3.5 million that is earning dividends to pay for future projects, such as renovating the ETHS planetarium.
The foundation’s mission is “to raise and distribute funds to Evanston Township High School in order to complement, enhance and enrich, beyond the means of conventional public funding, opportunities that further the educational mission of ETHS,” Caan reported.
One of the foundation’s recent major successes was securing a pledge of $500,000, subject to a $100,000 match, from Leonard Schaeffer, a 1963 ETHS grad who is the former chairman of WellPoint, the nation's largest health benefits company.
The gift is targeted toward construction of three new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics labs at the school.
In addition to major funding for construction of the Advanced Manufacturing Lab, the foundation this fiscal year has contributed nearly $13,000 for scholarships, $20,000 for fees assistance, and $3,683 for renovations to the ETHS swimming pool.