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Elmhurst D205 Foundation

Elmhurst District 205 Foundation

For Innovations that Advance Educational Excellence

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2016 Grant Awards


2015 Grant Awards


Thiems Grants

2017 Thiems Grant-$54,327 Awarded 

25 Educational Grants 

All Thirteen D205 Schools Benefit



Friday, May 12th, began as usual for students and staff of Elmhurst District 205 schools, until District 205 Foundation Board members began paying surprise visits to extraordinary teachers who were awarded the Thiems Educational Grants they had applied for last semester. Throughout the day, several teams of Foundation Directors visited all thirteen schools from Madison Early Childhood Center to York High School with bells and balloons awarding grants to happy teachers and excited students.

A total of 25 grants worth $53,827 were awarded this year for implementation next academic year. The grant program is named after former District 205 Superintendent Dr. Russell Thiems, who was instrumental in in the formation of the Foundation for Educational Excellence, which has provided close to $1.5 million dollars in Thiems Grants to District 205 since 1989.

“The Foundation recently funded $23,000 in literacy resources,” said Brian Bresnahan, Foundation Chairperson, “and a large amount of 2017 grant dollars support science and technology that helps teachers deliver STEM-related curriculum.”

One highlight for this year is the awarding of several grants to help create Makerspaces at every elementary school library and two areas (Library and Lincoln Lab) at York High School. A makerspace is a collaborative workspace for making, learning, exploring and sharing. Spaces such as these support future-ready learning and allow teachers and students to embed creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration in learning experiences.

“Our donors have helped us enhance all curricular areas for students, including the arts and physical education,” commented Foundation Executive Director Lisa Fanelli, “and recently our focus has been on providing future-ready learning opportunities for students.”

Generous attendees at this year’s Foundation Gala, held in March, raised $106,000 that will go a long way in supporting Foundation programs. Recently funded enhancements include, three future- ready model classrooms in three different schools, Google Expedition Kits that bring the world to elementary classrooms through virtual field trips, Kano Kits that allow middle school students to build and program their own computer, and Dano App Crayons for use with iPads to help preschoolers learn to write.

In addition to the grants, the Foundation supports instructional programs, community programs and partnerships, as well as District initiatives, bringing the total over $2.7 million raised and funded.

Making a Difference

Since 1989…
  your support resulted in over
$1.9 million in educational grants
funded for District 205 schools!

Your support of the Foundation - through donations and participation in special events - ensures that the Thiems Grant Program  will continue to make a difference in the lives of thousands of children in our schools. 

Thank you to all who helped to make these grant awards possible!

2016 Award Presentations

Past Years Grant Winners

Named in memory of Dr. Russell Thiems, Superintendent of District 205 from 1983 to 1992.  Dr. Thiems recognized the need to provide opportunities for students beyond what was possible through tax revenues.  He then recruited community members to serve on the Board of Directors, and together they established the Elmhurst District 205 Foundation.

Funds at Work


 Program Amounts Funded

Thiems Grants, Study Skills

& Initiatives supporting STEM, literacy & furture ready learning


  2016       $143,782