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Evanston Township High School students will receive support in and out of the classroom during the 2020-21 school year thanks in part to a $1.5 million gift from alumnus Henry Engelhardt (Class of 1975). A proud ETHS graduate and entrepreneur, Mr. Engelhardt and his family share the ETHS commitment to equity in education.
The largest single donation to the ETHS Foundation in its 12-year history, this gift will impact students through multiple projects and educational opportunities. Spread over the next few years, the gift will enhance the district’s 1:1 digital efforts by providing Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots for students learning remotely through e-learning.
The gift also invests in two transformative educational programs on campus: the new Literacy Lab and the interdisciplinary Geometry in Construction program. Additionally, it will create a scholarship fund for private instrument lessons for band students and provide assistive listening devices for the ETHS Auditorium, which is set to be renovated this year with lighting and acoustic updates.
“I was fortunate to get a lot out of my ETHS experience,” Mr. Engelhardt recalls. “You don’t realize how important this time is, and I want to ensure that students today have all the opportunities available to them to succeed. If our gift helps in some small way, then all the better.”
Mr. Engelhardt always had his alma mater on his radar but was motivated to give after talking with ETHS Foundation Executive Director Joanne Bertsche. “Our discussions centered around not just giving to the high school. We want everyone to have access to a great education, whether they have the means or not. We want to help level the playing field and it starts with education,” she said.
Mr. Engelhardt is co-founder and former chief executive of Admiral Group UK. He and his wife, Diane Briere de l’Isle Engelhardt, have made it a priority to support others, establishing the Moondance Foundation and signing The Giving Pledge to mark their commitment to donate half their wealth to charitable causes.
ETHS Foundation President Kevin Mack noted the incredible impact of this contribution, especially during this challenging time. “Thanks to this immensely generous gift from the Engelhardt family, ETHS will be better equipped to not only provide top tier facilities and programming, but also to address issues of equity and access that exist in our education system. The student body will reap the benefits of their donation for years to come.”
The Engelhardts join thousands of alumni, parents, and other supporters who have given generously to the ETHS Foundation to advance equity and excellence for all students. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $7 million in support to ETHS for extraordinary opportunities including the Planetarium, STEM Labs, the ETHS Research Center, Lazier Field, and the ETHS Auditorium. Most recently, the Foundation has raised funds for the Student Response Fund to address current critical needs related to the COVID-19 health crisis and distance learning. More information on the ETHS Foundation, including current funding opportunities, is available at supporteths.org.