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Crystal Lake-based School District 155 approves education foundation to help with future funding

Staff hopeful about new group that could attract donations

Jeremy Davis, Community High School District 155's assistant superintendent of finance and operations, addresses the board during a meeting Tuesday night.
Jeremy Davis, Community High School District 155's assistant superintendent of finance and operations, addresses the board during a meeting Tuesday night.

The Community High School District 155 Board voted Tuesday night to establish an education foundation.

The board unanimously voted to establish the District 155 Educational Foundation during a meeting at Crystal Lake South High School.

Earlier this month, the district’s Workforce Development Committee discussed the idea of establishing a foundation to secure funding and donations, said Jeremy Davis, District 155’s assistant superintendent of finance and operations.

The goal is to enhance the district’s academic and workforce opportunities for students. The district’s finance and operations staff now must work with the board’s legal counsel to establish the foundation.

Board member Jason Blake said he’s excited about the foundation and thanked fellow board members for approving it.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I think it’s a win for all of us,” Blake said, adding that local taxpayers could benefit from private donations used to offset the costs of training young people for college or a career. “We’re going to find ways as a [nonprofit] for some of these things that need to be done. ... It’s a win for our teachers because they can now work together with funds from outside of the school to develop students [and] address the skills gap.”

Board President Adam Guss expressed similar sentiments.

“I think it’s a great thing,” Guss said. “Everybody’s excited. ... We get a lot of support already from local businesses, but this is a way to formalize it.”

Davis said the foundation will be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and could be rolled out later this year after the necessary tax documents are completed. He said the district is allowed to take private donations without the foundation, but it’s far easier to inspire donors and organizations to contribute to a 501(c)(3). Donations to nonprofit organizations are tax-deductible, and some companies offer matching grants to them.

“Lots of companies want to know your 501(c)(3), and I’ve had to tell people in the past we don’t have one,” Davis said.

Davis said that “in this era of mega-donations,” millionaires and billionaires across the nation are donating and giving large sums of money to organizations and entities in need. Davis said there’s not yet a monetary goal.

He said he recently read a New York Times article on the subject.

“As government was kind of retreating a little bit and the income gap grows, it’s going to be the [wealthy] who can donate, and they’ll do that,” he said. “If you have something like this, a
501(c)(3), then that gives you a leg up.”

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