Naperville Education Foundation       |       Naperville, IL       |       |       (630) 420-3086

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Heroes in Our Midst

Christine Bell, NCHS Business Education
   and her husband Rodney Bell
Kimberly Blitek, Kingsley Physical Education
   and her brother-in-law Robert Blitek
Hugh Boger, Highlands and Ranch View Assistant Principal
John Brazda, Community Member
George Burns III, Community Member
Kim Castner, Scott Fourth Grade Teacher
Michele Chapman-Simmons, NNHS Assistant Principal
   and her son Blakedaniel Chapman
Samantha Christoff, NCHS National Honor Society
   and Learning Behavior Specialist
Rich Cortez, Community Member
Jeffrey Danbom, NCHS Mathematics
Neil Duncan, NCHS Physical Education
Joshua Falk, Elmwood Learning Behavior
Gretchen Gallois, SD203 Human Resources
Michael Hughes, Community Member
Laurel Hutchison, Community Member
Danielle Koziol, Prairie Fourth Grade Teacher
Regina Lackowski, Beebe Dual Language-Fourth
Patty Lindstrom, Community Member
Monica Lucibello, Former General Home & School President
Urmi Picone, Community Member
Amy Rossi, Mill Street Home & School President
Amy Tepavchevich, Highlands, Learning Support Coach
Jeff Ullian, Community Member
Gabriela Velazquez, SD203 Dual Language Program Coordinator
Sondra Walbert, Community Member
John Weigel, Kennedy Mathematics.

They're all running either the Naperville Marathon or the Half Marathon on Sunday, November 8th for our kiddos!

There are many ways to show your support of our heroes and their efforts on behalf of our students:

Simply offer words of encouragement whenever you can. Training in these last few weeks before race day can be particularly exhausting, so let us all remind them how much their efforts are appreciated!
You will find a complete listing of our heroes here:
If you would like to help them reach their fundraising goals, visit: and read each runner's compelling, heartfelt and personal story about why they're running for NEF. Then make a donation in support of their run - or the whole team - at that website.
Or you can visit: and under "Designation" you can add TEAM NEF as a whole or select an individual runner.
Or you can write a check, note the runner's name on the memo line and then mail it to NEF, drop it off at the Administrative Center, or send it to NEF via District mail.
100% of every dollar raised by TEAM NEF goes directly to help children through NEF's programs and grants.

They are running as members of TEAM NEF to support the Naperville Education Foundation (NEF), the philanthropic arm of School District 203 that helps students by funding educational programs and grants in our schools. We, at NEF, offer our most sincere thanks to our runners whose hard work and dedication improves the lives of thousands of Naperville children and ask you to join us in supporting TEAM NEF. They've been training hard and they've set their goals -- both in distance and in dollars.

Each of our runners is truly a hero -- and our hearts are full.

Hooray for TEAM NEF!

Hugh Boger

Gretchen Gallois

Kim Castner

Neil Duncan

2015-16 Annual Grant Applications Now Available!

As the philanthropic arm of District 203, NEF's mission is to "encourage creativity, innovation and excellence in our students" and our purpose is to supplement our school community with private donations to enhance education and programs for all students. One such program, solely funded by community donations, is the Annual Grant Awards.

Grant applications may be initiated by students, faculty, staff, parents and community members for District 203 projects. Applications are then reviewed by evaluation teams made up of NEF Trustees, District 203 faculty, staff and administration, community members and District retirees. NEF supports projects that correlate to District 203 curriculum including but not limited to the following six areas: Literacy, Math/Science, Fine Arts, Health/Physical Development, Cultural Studies and General.

This year we surpassed the $1 million milestone in funding since 1993 through our Annual Grant Award program.

NEF Annual Grant Award Applications will be accepted from
January 2, 2016 until February 1, 2016 by 4:00 pm.

Applications should be submitted electronically to NEF at

Award decisions will be announced in April

Click here to download Grant Application & Instructions
(for use in Word)

Click here for a .pdf version for reference

A Perfect Match --
An NEF Kid Booster Anonymous Story

By Kathryn Walsh

Christine Bell was in the thick of planning a field trip to Orlando, Florida for the students in her marketing class at Naperville Central High School. Every year she takes 10th, 11th and 12th graders on a whirlwind trip where they can take seminars with some of the biggest names in entertainment - e.g. Disney, Universal Studios, Hard Rock Cafe - to see how the concepts they've learned in class get used in the real world.

"It's huge," she says. "It's cool because we do this in class, and then they go see it, and you just see the light bulbs go on... like, oh my gosh, we totally get this now."

A great opportunity... but only if you have the money to pay for it. The cost of the trip varies from year to year and is usually between $650 and $800.

A student Bell had known as a freshman from her involvement in DECA, Central's business club, was struggling to find the funds to go on the trip. Like many people after 2008, her father had lost his job and was unable to find another one. Her mother was working two jobs but they were on the verge of losing their home. There was simply no money to pay for a class trip.

So Bell turned to NEF's Kid Booster Anonymous Fund to help fill the gap.

Every year Bell has 2 or 3 students who need help to pay for the Orlando trip, and "every year NEF has come through," she says. She used to have parents who would write extra checks to cover these students, but a few years ago "all that money kind of disappeared." So she started applying for grants from NEF to cover part of the trip. "I require the kids to fundraise... your parents may not have the money but you can get on your two feet and go walk and sell something, you know, raise money... if they commit to fundraising, I will commit to writing a letter to NEF."

So when Bell, an accomplished marathoner, was looking for a charity to run for and heard that NEF was putting together a team to run in the Naperville Marathon, she knew she had found her perfect match. "I saw the email about looking for charity runners, and I just knew, this was it. I had written those grant applications... as soon as I saw the email, I signed up immediately."

Anyone can run for TEAM NEF. Bell has several friends running with her who don't even live in the district. The only qualification is you must raise at least $300, although Bell sets her own goals much higher. She says that last year she got close to $2000 and is hoping to meet that goal this year. She gets many donations through social media. Also, she's a native of New Orleans and in the past she has held her own "Red Dress Run" here in Naperville to raise funds like the famous charity run that started in the Big Easy. People in red dresses will "run through town and end up back at my house for a party afterwards... it's just something fun."

Bell plays a bigger role in TEAM NEF than just fundraising. Having run in 39 marathons, Bell knows a thing or two about how to train for one. So as team trainer, she sends out emails with detailed plans that people can use - for free - when they sign up to run with Team NEF. Whether you're running the full or half marathon, whether you're a beginner, intermediate or advanced, she has a weekly running plan to get you to the finish line. She also offers three workouts a week where people can just show up - a speed workout on Tuesdays, a Thursday four mile fun run, and long runs on Saturdays.

Not every charity has a training program. Bell says it's huge for "someone who just wants to run for charity... we're offering a perk that the others aren't."

Every year Bell sees kids struggling financially in the middle of our well-to-do community. She knows firsthand the impact of NEF's programs, from the Kid Booster Anonymous Fund that has helped her own students make the trip to Orlando to the Annual Grant Awards that provide innovative programs in the schools. Being able to say "thank you" by helping on TEAM NEF has been an incredible opportunity for this lifelong runner. "I get to give back now to an organization that gives to my students."

Click here if you would like to
make a contribution to the
Kid Booster Anonymous Fund

Thanks for your valued support!

The Naperville Education Foundation (NEF) raises and grants funds for programs that enhance and enrich the educational experience of Naperville School District 203 students.

With the generous support of foundations, businesses, educational professionals and individual donors, NEF is able to provide financial resources that increase learning opportunities by supplementing the school district's budget. NEF encourages creativity, innovation and excellence in our students by helping to insure that every student can take advantage of opportunities to make the most of their education.

If you would like to donate online please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Ann E. Spehar,
Executive Director, at (630) 420-3086 or

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