Why They Give

Why They Give
Voices of Educational Foundation Donors

Elgin’s Golden K Kiwanis Club is “dedicated to serving the children of the world” so the question of whether or not to donate to the U-46 Educational Foundation was a bit of a no-brainer.


“If we’re going to be true to our motto of helping children, we thought this was the perfect kind of donation to make,” said Tom Peterson, president of the Golden K Kiwanis Club.


The Kiwanis plan to make an annual donations of $1,000 to support the Foundation’s efforts and, in turn, expand opportunities for U-46 students beyond what is possible through the standard curriculum. The club donates to other organizations in the Elgin area that serve children, but Peterson 

said the U-46 Educational Foundation provides a unique opportunity to make an impact on an especially large number of kids.


Moon Notebooks

The U-46 Educational Foundation’s grants to the U-46 Planetarium have brought new full-dome sky shows to tens of thousands of students, and every first grader in the District will get to practice being a scientist tracking the movement of the sun, moon and stars thanks to observation notebooks distributed at the end of Planetarium visits during the 2016-17 school year. 


Heart rate monitors purchased with Foundation funds gave 26,000 elementary and middle school students access to technology in their physical education classes that gives them instant readings of their heart rates. Thousands of students have attended Kidz Konzerts to see the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, thanks to a partnership between the Foundation and the ESO.


“We see it as a worthwhile cause and very helpful to the kids within the School District U-46,” Peterson said, adding that he hopes the Kiwanis donation can become seed money that inspires other prospective donors to give. “If they see what we’re donating, maybe they’ll look at what we’ve done and see that as a place to make a donation where it will do some good.”


The Golden K Kiwanis Club donated to the U-46 Educational Foundation with no strings attached. This type of gift, called “unrestricted,” gives the Foundation’s board of directors the opportunity to direct money to projects with the most pressing need or those that can have the widest impact.


The W.R. Meadows Company has consistently provided unrestricted gifts to the U-46 Educational Foundation for many years. Merrie Derderion, vice chairman of the company and granddaughter of its founder, says even though the W.R. Meadows Company is now based in Hampshire, it got its start in Elgin and it remains committed to the Elgin community.


“It’s a worthy cause to give back to,” Derderion said. “The best thing you can give children is their education. They’re the future leaders.”


Other donors to the U-46 Educational Foundation have chosen to direct their gifts toward specific projects or funds, including the Superintendent’s Scholarship or the Presidents’ Scholarship Fund, established by the Foell brothers, all three of whom served as class presidents at Elgin High School. These targeted donations have also supported Project Access, which serves the District’s homeless students, and individual schools, including Hillcrest Elementary, which enjoys a long-standing partnership with JPMorgan Chase.


The U-46 Educational Foundation collects donations year-round. Donors can give online by clicking here, or mail donations to 355 East Chicago St., Elgin, IL 60120 with this form.