During the 2015 Staszak Annual Gala, OPEF executive director Deb Abrahamson announced the creation of the Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund.

Like so many in this community, we deeply admired Peter Traczyk for his effective advocacy for all kids. From his service on the Oak Park Education Foundation board to his leadership on the District 97 School Board, Peter consistently brought people together to do the right thing for the kids and the community. We are deeply honored that the Traczyk family chose OPEF as the recipient of his memorial gifts.

To honor his legacy, the Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund was created and will provide seed funds for new OPEF initiatives in D97. “Seed funds” are defined as the very early investment, meant to support a new idea until it can generate funding of its own. In order to qualify for Peter Traczyk Innovation Funding, an idea must meet the following criteria:

  • Have the potential for substantial, lasting impact on D97 students, particularly in students’ communication, citizenship, financial acumen, and/or practical, hands-on “maker” skills, all exceptional qualities of Peter Traczyk.
  • Leverage partnerships with outside experts and/or community organizations.
  • Be new for OPEF either as an evolutionary innovation (new, better ideas within current programs) or a revolutionary innovation (transformative, risky new ideas).

The Oak Park Education Foundation staff and board extend our deep appreciation to this community for its outpouring of generosity in loving memory of Peter.

OPEF’s newest program – Spoken Word – will be the very first program to receive seed funding from the Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund. The program is currently in development, and will be launched some time in 2015-16 school year.