After being revived from a long institutional sleep, the Ouilmette Foundation is active, with replenished funds to help expand peoples’ use of the Wilmette Park District, and ideas for innovative new programs board members want to help create.
The fledgling foundation came out of its first fundraiser, a July 11 golf tournament during grand reopening events at the Wilmette Golf Course, with roughly $30,000, Wilmette Park Board Commissioner Amy Wolfe told colleagues during their July 14 meeting.
Wolfe, the district’s voting member on the Ouilmette Foundation’s board, said July 17 that the fundraising money will go to the park district’s family scholarship fund. That fund helps families with temporary finance difficulties handle the cost of park programs.
Board President James Crowley congratulated Foundation organizers saying, “For a committee that’s been in existence just a little over four months, that is pretty remarkable.”
The foundation was originally created in 1983 to raise money for the Wallace Bowl’s rehabilitation. It went dormant for many years, but park district commissioners and district administrators revived it this year, after several months of planning.
Ouilmette Foundation board president Tom Nathan said July 17 that the foundation’s small board has met to brainstorm what type of programs it could continue to support, or create.
“The ideas ranged from the simple to the complex and profound, but effectively we all looked at enhancing the park district experience for our citizenry, in ways that aren’t covered by the park district’s current abilities,” he said.
Ouilmette Foundation funding could help support Wilmette Warming House projects for young people. It might also eventually cover paying for family movie nights or theater nights at Wilmette’s small neighborhood parks. It could also help provide handicapped facilitiy access improvements, he said.
Nathan said that so far the board has put together a list that includes renovating the district’s Keay nature center on Hibbard Road, and instituting innovative new programs, possibly with the help of other governments, like school and municipal boards.
For instance, an “environmental school” that allows children to learn about multiple aspects of water use, protection and ecology might involve the park district, the village of Wilmette and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, he said.
“In my 34 years of working on things like this, it would be the first time we’d have a true intergovernmental education project,” Nathan said. “It could be directed toward junior high students. We could how them the village water plant, and the locks, talk about how we care for our water aquifers, and issues of water pollution, and discuss the significance of water, because it’s a significant commodity.”
The board will continue to fine tune its programming and fundraising ideas this year, he said. It is also programming ideas from the public.
To learn more about or donate to the Ouilmette Foundation, visit. www.ouilmettefoundation.org, or email email@example.com. Checks can be made to the Ouilmette Foundation and sent to the foundation in care of the Wilmette Park District, 1200 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette 60091. To find out about the park district’s family scholarship fund or to donate to it, visit www.wilmettepark.org/about-us/donations.
WHAT: Ouilmette Foundation
MISSION: raise funds
FOR: enhanced Wilmette Park District programsINFO: www.wilmettefoundation.org