photos by Alec Bloyd-Peshkin and David Kindler

We're a coalition of professionals that implement hands-on, curriculum-enriching programs for the children of District 97 public schools.

Founded in 1989, the Oak Park Education Foundation is a privately-funded, non-profit organization working in close partnership with District 97. We currently run 6 programs:

  • Science Alliance;
  • Art Start;
  • VEX Robotics;
  • Architecture Adventure;
  • Geared Up (LEGO engineering); and
  • BASE Camp, a summer and school-day off program.
Our professional partners share their passion for learning while conducting hands-on projects with more than 3,500 students every year.
photo by Alec Bloyd-Peshkin

The Oak Park Education Foundation (OPEF) was founded in 1989 by a coalition of parents, educators, and community leaders. Our aim was to raise private funds to launch innovative, curriculum-enriching programs above and beyond regular school programs funded by taxpayers.

Over the years we've launched numerous, hands-on programs that continue today: Science Alliance (visiting scientists -- formerly known as Global Village, since 1990); Art Start (visiting artists, since 1998); VEX Robotics (since 2005); Architecture Adventure (visiting architects, since 2006); Geared Up (engineering simple machines using LEGOs, since 2008), and BASE Camp (summer and school day-off programs, since 2010). We've also funded excellent programs that became obsolete, like Technology in Motion, a school bus retrofitted with video editing equipment that today could be replaced by a single Mac.

Every year we evaluate our programs and their relevance to District 97 students, and every few years we ask for community input on new program ideas. Our work ensures that experts in our community are connected to the next generation through our schools, and keeps kids inspired with innovative programs available to all.


OPEF  •  970 Madison Street  •  Oak Park, Illinois 60302  •  (708) 524-3023  •  dabrahamson@opef.org  •   facebook