Our Mission

The Oak Park Education Foundation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that brings artists, architects, scientists, and technology experts into K-8th grade classrooms at every District 97 school. Our professional partners share their passion for learning while conducting free, hands-on residencies with more than 4,200 students each year. OPEF also runs BASE Camp, exceptional summer and school-holiday enrichment programs that make learning fun and grounded in the real world. BASE Camp helps to fund OPEF’s free in-school programming.

Our People

Tracy Dell'Angela Barber

Tracy Dell'Angela Barber

Executive Director

Seth Baker

Seth Baker

Science Alliance
Coordinator

Kristi Braun

Kristi Braun

VEX Robotics
Assistant Event Coordinator

Lindsay Bruce

Lindsay Bruce

BASE Camp
Director

Karen Daily

Karen Daily

Director of
Development

Jill Kramer Goldstein

Jill Kramer Goldstein

Art Start
Coordinator

Mary Beth Hausken

Mary Beth Hausken

VEX Robotics
Coordinator

Angie Hawkins

Angie Hawkins

BASE Camp
Assistant Director

Gretchen Junker

Gretchen Junker

Geared Up Coordinator

Adrienne McMullen

Adrienne McMullen

Architecture Adventure
Coordinator

Cindy Milojevic

Cindy Milojevic

Spoken Word
Coordinator

Patti Quilling

Patti Quilling

Asst to the Executive Director
Asst Program Coordinator

Amy Struckmeyer

Amy Struckmeyer

BASE Camp
Operations Coordinator

Annual Reports

Thanks to supporters like you, the Oak Park Education Foundation (OPEF) is celebrating another successful year of implementing hands-on, curriculum-enriching programs for the children of District 97 public schools.

Board of Directors

OPEF is Governed and Managed by a Volunteer Board of Directors

Lisa Kitzman

Lisa Kitzman

President

Matt Cote

Matt Cote

Vice President

Steve Miller

Steve Miller

Treasurer

Carrie Cotter

Carrie Cotter

Fundraising Chair

Kyle Rettberg

Kyle Rettberg

Governance Chair

Stephanie Springs

Stephanie Springs

Secretary

Overview

Members committed to the organization’s mission. Board members establish policy, monitor finances, raise funds, and plan for the organization’s future. OPEF also has an Executive Director and additional staff who manage day-to-day operations. Together, the Board and staff play key roles in support of our free in-school programs through committee work, fundraising, and other activities.

For more information about the Board, contact nominating chair Kyle Rettberg.

members

Lisa Kitzman
Matt Cote
Steve Miller
Carrie Cotter
Kyle Rettberg
Stephanie Springs
Faith Cole
Rupa Datta
Nora Flynn
Linda Francis
Adam Golla
Carol Kelley
David Martin
John McCauley
Andre Meeks
Libbey Paul
Roselyn Roberts
Bob Walicki
Helen Wei

Non-Profit Reports

Please feel free to view:

Recent Tax Filings

Oak Park Education Foundation’s Non-Profit Bylaws

Our Partners

OPEF’s partners come in all shapes and sizes — from global corporations and charitable foundations to local businesses, school groups and philanthropic individuals. Every one of these partners is a valued and vital part of our community. We are grateful for their unique contributions to our mission — and their gifts of time, talent, and financial support.

Donors

Platinum

  • Informitics
  • Marion Street Market

Gold

  • Aria Group Architects
  • Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest
  • Lakeview Bus Lines
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • STR Partners LLC

Silver

  • Canon Solutions America
  • Precision Control Systems
  • Strategic Hotels & Resorts

Booster

  • Advise Us Fund
  • Altamanu
  • Bob Rogers Travel, Inc.
  • Chapman and Cutler LLP
  • Forest Agency
  • Forest Park National Bank and Trust Co
  • Franczek Radelet, P.C.
  • Kirtley Technology Corp.
  • PMA Financial Network, Inc.
  • William Blair & Company

D97 Groups

PTOs

  • Beye Elementary
  • Brooks Middle
  • Hatch Elementary
  • Holmes Elementary
  • Irving Elementary
  • Julian Middle
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Longfellow Elementary
  • Mann Elementary
  • Whittier Elementary

Oak Park Teachers’ Association

 

GRANTORS

  • Oak Park Area Arts Council
  • Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation
  • Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation – Future Philanthropists Program
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP
  • Prince Charitable Trusts
  • Rotary Club of Oak Park & River Forest

friends

Deb & Tom Abrahamson
Matt & Carrie Cotter
Matt & Marta Cote
Karen & Brian Daily
Mark & Dawn Deaton
Carol & John Dudzik
Jack & Stephanie Flynn
Molly & Matt Galo
Louise & Jim Gates
Eric & Angie Gershenson
Adam & Clare Golla
Judy & Bill Greffin
Phil & Mary Beth Hausken
Nancy Lynn & Andy Teitelman
Paul & Julie Mann
David & Sheryl Martin
John & Leslie McCauley
Lynn & James J. McClure, Jr.
Bart Miller & Margaret Jeschke
Sarah Staszak Miller & Steve
Miller
Donna Myers & Aaron Lebovitz
Martin & Mary Lou Noll
Thomas & Gwen O’Loughlin
Libbey & Michael Paul
Jane & Hank Pearsall
Perry & Diane Pero
Jeffrey & Magda Piper
Pat & Silvia Shannon
Bob Spatz & Lisa Ginet
Stephanie Springs & Gary Cole
Patricia Staszak
Ted & Jennifer Staszak
Cindy Traczyk
Sally Wallace
Helen Wei & Paul Henrys

Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund

Honoring His Legacy

Former OPEF board member and District 97 board member Peter Traczyk was a remarkably effective community leader because he brought people together to find solutions that leave a positive and lasting impact on children. To honor this legacy, OPEF created the Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund, which will provide seed funds for new OPEF initiatives in D97.

We are deeply honored to be entrusted with memorial gifts in Peter’s honor, and we will use these donations to do what Peter always did — help Oak Park kids realize their fullest potential as curious, compassionate and purposeful human beings. Read OPEF’s April 2015 news article OPEF Announces Peter Trazcyk Innovation Fund. Fund recipient for 2015-2016: Spoken Word.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who, What, How?

What are the Foundation's mission and values?
The mission of the Oak Park Education Foundation is to mobilize community resources to provide innovative, hands-on learning experiences that have the greatest impact on District 97 students.

OPEF develops and supports programs that embody these values:

  • Inclusiveness and Access
  • Innovation
  • Real World Connections
  • Experiential Learning
  • Community Engagement
  • Inspiring
  • Fun!

To view the Oak Park Education Foundation’s bylaws, click here.

Whom does the Foundation serve?
With our free in-school programs, last year we reached 4,100+ K-8 students attending a District 97 school. Because most of our programs take place during the school day, we are able to equitably serve our racially, culturally and economically diverse student body.

Last year we also served nearly 1,350 students through our fee-based summer and day-off BASE Camp, which is open to any student from all area schools.

Do my tax dollars pay for these programs?
No. The Oak Park Education Foundation is a privately-funded, nonprofit organization serving the students and teachers of District 97. Over the past 25+ years, OPEF has raised over $3 million in non-tax revenues for our hands-on enrichment programs. Last year, over 200 volunteers gave 3,600 hours of their time to help inspire kids across Oak Park. Our most important fundraisers include our annual events, BASE Camp revenue, and annual appeal to individual and business donors. View OPEF’s most recent tax filing (form 990) here.

How do you ensure the high quality of your programs?

Each year our Board Audit Committee measures the quality and effectiveness of our in-school programs. With this evaluation tool, we carefully examine input from teachers, students and experts to identify and implement improvements to our programs, Architecture Adventure, Art Start, Geared Up, Science Alliance, Spoken Word, and VEX Robotics. For example, VEX Robotics respondents rate the program’s contributions to students’ abilities in science, technology, engineering and math, problem-solving, project management, teamwork, perseverance and leadership. Our programs are consistently rated very highly by our constituents.

For summer and day-off BASE Camp, we conduct extensive surveys of participating parents and teachers immediately after each BASE Camp program ends, and the program consistently receives high marks. For example, last summer 96% of parent respondents said they are likely or highly likely to recommend BASE Camp to a friend, and 100% of teachers said they were highly likely to recommend BASE Camp to parents and kids.

What's happening at my school?

Community experts are busy experimenting, designing, dancing, crafting and building with kids in more than 140 classrooms plus after-school clubs this year. Check out our news section, and then click on your school for a sampling of past projects. For more specific information about which classrooms our participating at each school, contact Deb Abrahamson at 708-524-3023. 

What awards have you won?
Our awards include:

  • 2013 Those Who Excel Team Award of Meritorious Service for VEX Robotics from the Illinois State Board of Education
  • 1st Place in the 2010 national LEGO Landmark competition for Mr. Podlasek’s and Ms. Pasquinelli’s Longfellow 2nd/3rd graders’ model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio
  • Recognition in Oak Park’s award as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, from the America’s Promise Alliance, 2008
  • A $10,000 2007 Visionary Grant from Community Bank of Oak Park & River Forest to expand Architecture Adventure into all ten District 97 schools
  • 1999 “Best in Class for Educational Programming” award for Art Start from the Oak Park Area Arts Council
  • American Architectural Foundation 2007 and 2008 Award of Merit to Architecture Adventure for K-12 Architectural Education
  • First Place prize to Science Alliance from the Midwest Living magazine Champions in Education contest, 2004
  • $20,500 award for Art Start from Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities in 1998
  • A $25,000 McDonald’s Children’s Charities awarded to Technology in Motion, a former OPEF program
  • Exemplary Partnership Recognition for Global Village (now Science Alliance) at the 1994 Illinois Conference on Business/Education Partnerships
  • Recognition for Art Start by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and Arts Education Partnership
  • Honorable Mention from the Educational Environments Exhibition in 1996 for Technology in Motion