Philanthropy at Ivywild
Foundation’s help includes uniforms, field trips
Ivywild Elementary has benefited in the past year and a half from a partnership with the Pikes Pikes Community Foundation.
The non-profit philanthropic agency's Strength-ening Neighborhoods Initiative has resulted in uniforms (specifically colored shirts) for all Ivywild students, scholarships for after-school enrichment programs, books, and expanded field trip opportunities.
Ultimately geared for the Stratton Meadows and Mill Street neighborhoods as well, the initiative has focused at first on Ivywild, making use of $5,000 in foundation money, individual donations and recruited volunteers.
“It's been great for our school,” said long-time Ivywild staffer Marilyn Eggleston. “It's created a huge difference in what we offer our kids.”
Foundation volunteer Susan Pattee developed the plan and serves as its director. She had taught part-time at Ivywild from 2003 to 2005 and continues to offer volunteer teaching assistance there. Through this experience, she has come to appreciate the “strong commitment to the neighborhood by a lot of the neighbors” - due in large part to the influence of the school and its historical building on South Cascade Avenue - as well as the area's transient, low-income situation.
One aspect that especially struck Pattee was the “extreme differences in income levels between there and the Broadmoor area” scarcely a mile away. As a result, part of the initiative has involved recruiting Broadmoor residents to help out. “It's been a good connection,” she said.
Eggleston can point to tangential positive advances at the school, including increased enrollment (up 35 students to 140 this year) and plans to start a preschool. Also, “we're getting a lot of favorable feedback from parents,” she said.
Pattee expressed pleasure that her personal involvement at the school has smoothed the initiative effort. “It helps that as a teacher, I know the kids and parents pretty well,” she said. “It's been one of the keys to success.”
The Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative is one of three major philanthropic efforts the foundation has going in the region. The others are the Fund for the Arts (which helps local artists) and the preservation of the Venetucci Farm (made famous by years of free pumpkins to area schoolchildren).
Westside Pioneer article