As I think about our current situation at Lakeshore, I believe that we are a reflection of the United States and the rest of the world, as we continue to deal with COVID-19.
Our nation is dealing with the dilemma of how to educate our children during a pandemic … in person, virtual, or a combination of the two. And, our businesses around the world have been impacted severely as their capacity and business hours have been drastically reduced. As your LEF Board, I am pleased to say that we have been very sensitive to these two situations … our Lakeshore Schools and our Lakeshore business community. Going beyond the sensitivities, as stewards of your contributions, we have proactively addressed several areas of impact.
We think you’ll be pleased with our recent expenditures, such as:
We have been working closely with Lakeshore Superintendent, Phil Freeman, regarding the potential budget cuts from the state, the impact, and how could we help. With approximately 30% of students choosing the remote learning option, there was also a concern regarding our elementary students and having the necessary tools to teach our curriculum remotely. The LEF invested in learning supplies and bags to be provided to each elementary student.
We have all heard that story about a teacher using money from their own pockets to provide additional classroom supplies. Add to that, the upheaval of their learning plans at the end of the school year, due to COVID. Then they had to return to school with a whole new set of operating procedures. To say the least, it’s been an uncertain time for our staff. LEF wanted to recognize and give a big THANK YOU to our staff. On October 21st, we distributed gift cards. We understand there were a lot of smiles and a great appreciation for this acknowledgment of their efforts. Many of our LEF grants deal with projects and this was a nice way to directly impact people.
BUSINESS & COMMUNITY
Each year we recognize our Lancer Leaders (annual contribution of $1,000 or more) with a formal, in-person reception where they receive the latest information regarding our LEF projects and their impact on Lakeshore Schools. With the COVID rules, we didn’t feel that a face-to-face reception was appropriate, so each Lancer Leader has received a gift, a gift card and access to a video which provided a virtual progress update. We were mindful of our Lakeshore Business Community as we selected the gift and gift cards. Also at this time, we would normally start our planning for the annual LEF Online Auction that takes place in February. We have already decided that we need to do something different and won’t be asking these very supportive businesses for a contribution this year. We want to come up with an idea that will support those businesses who have supported us through the years. Give me a call if you have an idea!
This has been a crazy year trying to determine what our revenue (and eventual net contribution available for Lakeshore school projects and grants) would potentially be. We began planning for $0 in our 2020 Budget in a couple of key areas. I have always been impressed with our donor base and this year is no exception. To our great fortune, we should end up having one of our better fundraising years. For example, we typically receive approximately $185,000 from two golf outings Whirlpool Corporation holds each year. With COVID, we knew that these outings would not occur. Nevertheless, Whirlpool conducted a virtual auction with their suppliers and with the Whirlpool Foundation matching their contributions, we received a contribution of $200,000. This is the largest contribution we have ever received from them. The need is greater this year than ever before and Whirlpool responded. We are also grateful that the Upton Foundation has provided LEF with a $35,000 grant that will be utilized as the Lakeshore Schools effectively respond to the learning challenges that COVID has presented. We are grateful for the contributions.
With several of our multi-year investments (STEM, Reading Matters, Community Auditorium) being completed this year, we are discussing our next major project. Our next newsletter will probably contain information about what will be funded next by LEF. Stay tuned!
In summary, I hope that you feel good about the way your LEF is showing support for the Lakeshore teachers, the administration and our local business community as they continue to deal with the new realities caused by the pandemic. We welcome your feedback. If you have any questions at all or want to serve on the LEF, please contact me at email@example.com or (269) 921-2513.
J.C. Anderson, LEF Chairman