December 2020
President's Message
On behalf of the Peoria Public Schools Foundation's Board and staff, we want to say how thankful we are for our amazing community of friends and supporters. These last few weeks we have received many requests for help with basic needs - such as food, clothing and utility bills. We have been working extremely hard to ensure that our PPS students, families and staff have what they need during this holiday season, and our many generous friends and supporters are the reason we are able to help. Thank you so much!

Another way that you can help us continue this impactful work is by attending our 365 Breakfast on Thursday, January 7th. Check out the December President's Message by Cindy Morris below for more information.
We're excited to announce that Mr. David Booth, a Manual High School Alum and the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the National Basketball Association (NBA), will be this year's speaker!
Congrats to our Facebook Contest Winner, Richwoods Student - Bryson Pokarney!
Bryson won a pair of brand new Apple AirPods to make his holiday extra special! Thanks to all who entered this contest. Check out our Facebook page for more contests in the coming months.
Congrats to our Horizons Student Attendance Winner - Precious Humes!
Horizons classes may have looked a little different this semester, but Roosevelt Student, Precious Humes, consistently logged in for the virtual class. Thank you, Precious - and congratulations for being selected as the winner of this semester's attendance contest. Precious won a brand new Nintendo Switch with the game of her choice. We hope this helps make this holiday season extra special for her!
A new series to get to know those in the
community who work with the PPS Foundation!
Ruth Bittner has been on the PPS Foundation's Board of Director as Board Treasurer since 2015 and is the Vice President of Finance at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Read on to get to know her a little better.
1. What do you like best about Central Illinois?
It's home. Like many people from pretty much anywhere, I couldn't wait to leave town after high school. But after many years of living elsewhere around the Midwest, I landed back in Peoria 12 years ago by happy accident and don't plan to move away again. The city is a comfortable size, not too big and not too small, and I enjoy the people and places. Even the weather!

2. Which famous person, dead or alive, would you most like to meet?
Not a famous person, but I'd like to meet my ancestors. My grandparents all immigrated to America from eastern Europe. It would be so interesting to be like Dr. Who and drop in on them and their siblings, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents back in the old country, to see what their lives were like and who they were.

3. What social issue fires you up?
Education. I want everybody to be able to benefit from a great education. Obviously this means ensuring that a community has schools that place great teachers in the classrooms, in a physical setting that is conducive to learning, and with appropriate resources to support teaching and learning. But sometimes it also means reaching out to students to help them feel good about learning and be able to learn without having to worry about money, hunger, a challenging home situation, or safety.

4. Favorite sport to watch or play?
Baseball! I've been a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals since the days of Bob Gibson and Lou Brock.
5. What or who inspires you?
Star Trek. "To boldly go where no one has gone before." I find inspiration in the optimistic worldview of the franchise, that people are people (or beings are beings), no matter what year it is or where they are, that the ideal is for diverse individuals to live happy lives, get along well, and achieve positive things together.
Check Out Buzz Chats: a PPS Foundation Video Series!
Every month we will be connecting with different members of our community to talk about our public schools and how they interact with current events in Peoria.

On December 10th, we caught up with the Principal of Woodruff Career & Technical Center (WCTC), Michael Kuhn, and PPS Innovation and Grants Officer and the Director of WCTC, Dr. Susan Grzanich. Check out the video below!

Also, please join us for a special NYE Buzz Chats on December 31st at 6:30 PM with PPS Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Thomas Bruch!
Buzz Chats with Michael Kuhn and Dr. Susan Grzanich from December 10th
New Tax Deduction Opportunity for Tax Year 2020!
New for 2020 Only! Donors can deduct up to $300 on their taxes this upcoming tax season, even if they are taking the standard deduction. Check out this New York Time's article for more information and take advantage of this opportunity by making your donation to the PPS Foundation by December 31st!
SHERO of the Month: Pam Wiley!
Congratulations to Pam Wiley for being chosen as our December PPS Foundation SHERO of the Month!

Pam is the Director of the Food Pantry at the Peoria Public School's Wraparound Center. She has volunteered her time since the doors of the Wraparound Center opened in 2018. The food pantry serves approximately 200 individuals and families each week with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other food items. Director of the Wraparound Center, Derrick Booth, said, "I consider the Food Pantry our anchor institution. The pantry allows us to see individuals from our community week after week and develop relationships that build trust and also allows us to connect them to the resources and services they need".

Thank you, Pam, for all you do for the students in Peoria Public Schools. You truly are a SHERO!
Another Way to Support the PPS Foundation
As we are rolling into the holidays, little gifts can be a big hit. For a $25 donation, you can gift a set of note cards to family and friends to show them how much they are appreciated. Each set contains six note cards (plus envelopes) with exclusive artwork created by a PPS student. We currently have five different sets of note cards available.
Hy-Vee on Sheridan:
an Amazing Partner and Supporter!
One of the big challenges our community is facing during this time is making sure families in need have enough food to eat. The PPS Foundation would like to send a HUGE thank you to Hy-Vee on Sheridan for working with us to provide food and grocery deliveries to PPS families most at risk. We are truly in awe at the amount of support they have provided. Thank you for being so wonderful to work with, Hy-Vee!
PPS Foundation's Board of Directors:
Andre Allen, Ruth Bittner, Solivian Dismuke, Maarten de Haas,
Scott McCord, Daniel Musisi, Cheryl Sanfilip, and Cathy Wiggers

PPS Foundation's Staff:
Cindy Morris (President), Jen Adler (Administrative Director),
Sarah Oakford (Adopt-A-School Coordinator), Trish O'Shaughnessy (Director, Community Engagement & Horizons Program), Allison Coulter (Horizons), and Ella Dancey (Horizons)