One of its first undertakings was the 2007-08 Lazier Field renovations, which brought turf and improved lighting to the Evanston Township High School athletic field used by football, lacrosse and soccer teams. Ten years later, the Evanston Education Foundation has distributed more than $4.5 million to a list of ETHS projects, said Joanne Bertsche, Executive Director of the ETHS Educational Foundation during her update at the April 9 District 202 School Board Meeting. Since its beginning, the Foundation has raised about $3.5 million for ETHS capital improvement projects and about $1 million for scholarships and other assistance. 

The Foundation helps fill in funding gaps at the school every year, said Mark Metz, Board liaison to the Foundation. “I’m always impressed with your commitment and level of engagement with the community,” he said. “We appreciate you.”

The mission of the ETHS Educational Foundation is “to raise and distribute funds to the high school in order to complement, enhance and enrich beyond the means of conventional public funding, opportunities that further the educational mission of Evanston Township High School: Guaranteeing Access to Excellence for All Students.”

This year the Foundation will be donating funds to four initiatives: 1) Celebrating the Arts: Upstairs Theatre Rehearsal Space Enhancements; 2) Wildkit Faithful Project: Building an accessible and welcoming entranceway to the gym building; 3) Expanding Innovation Project: Adding a new Engineering Classroom; and 4) Creating a Greener Tomorrow: Updates to the Greenhouse and Exploring Possibilities: Chem-Phys Theory “Research” Center.

Recent projects funded in part by the Foundation include a 3-D Design and Ceramics Studio, Heritage Hall, Milligan Center for Entrepreneurship, the Leonard Schaeffer Theater in the renovated Planetarium, the Advanced Manufacturing Lab, Lake Street Tennis Center, Permanent Geometry in Construction Build Site, softball grandstands and updates in STEM Labs.

Funding for the Foundation comes mainly from alumni, said David Futransky, Executive Director of Alumni Relations to the Board. ETHS has more than “50,000 strong alumni,” he said, who contribute about 85% of the funding for Foundation projects. The recent 50th class reunion raised more than $100,000 for the Foundation. Perhaps the classes of 1969 and 1970 will surpass that, he said. 

The ETHS website contains more information on the Foundation and how to contribute.