Photography by Southwest parent: Scott Streble, Photography Helping Nonprofits (

What does the Southwest Foundation do?

Programs like AVID, Project Success, Link Crew, Passport to College, ACT Prep and many student group initiatives would not exist without the Southwest Foundation. The Southwest administration, student groups, affinity groups and staff members apply for grants from the Southwest Foundation each year. A decade ago, we somehow raised $100-150,000 per year to supplement our school's meager budget, but recent years have garnered only $30-50,000. Many may believe school referendums have supplanted our needs, but they haven't-- at least not at Southwest.

The Southwest Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to work with Southwest High School and its alumni to create an exceptional educational experience for all Southwest students.  The Foundation raises money to support academic, athletic, and artistic opportunities for students and to provide scholarships to graduating seniors, always with a focus on supporting the full IB learner profile and equitable opportunities.

The Southwest Foundation Board of Directors welcomes you to Southwest High School! We are excited to continue our partnership with the school and Southwest community.

We write with an update toward our School Year (SY) 2019-2020, Southwest Foundation (SWF) Grants.

This year's update is later than normal and we apologize for the inconvenience that it may have caused. Due to circumstances outside of our control involving organizational leadership changes and financial constraints, we felt it necessary to proceed with our annual Laker Legacy Fundraiser and Spring Newsletter/Fundraising appeal prior to confirming grant awards.

As always, the discussion toward grant allocations was made in consultation with SW Administration (Dr. Favor), per our guidelines (listed below for reference), and with consideration to our financial standing/projections. We commend the tremendous work that everyone invests toward Southwest High School, its students, and our community. We must also remind those reading this and ourselves, that the Southwest Foundation is operated by volunteers and fueled by generous contributors who believe in the power of a comprehensive and equitable education experience for all students. Every request is valued and considered important however, we are limited by our finances.

The cycle of donations and grant allocations is only possible with help from every corner of our community. Moving forward, a very strong emphasis will be placed by our board on reporting how this money was used and what was achieved. This information is valuable for our board, MPS Leadership, and most importantly, our financial supporters. We request that as these dollars are used in accordance with requests, experiences are documented with photos, lists of student demographics impacted, and the significance toward raising the "Southwest experience" for those involved and the community.

Some notes pertaining to the following grant awards:

1) Field Trip transportation was placed into a pool of "Transportation" funds for administration to allocate

2) Administration request was approved at 90% to ensure equity toward individual grants and alignment with our financial wherewithal

3) Club Sport requests are denied within our "general pool" however, will receive some assistance through an "athletic fund" held by the SWF

4) All grants fall within the 2019-2020 SY. Those for 2018-19 were declined (in accordance with our annual process). *We only issue grants once per year. Requests outside of this timeline/process are denied.

5) The Dr. Parker gift does not factor into these awards as that money is designated for Women's Athletics and Teacher Development/Innovation. Subcommittees are operating with appropriate stakeholders to determine dissemination.

6) We only include approved grants.

7) Many of these programs are funded at other high schools. Southwest is the lowest funded high school, per student, in the district (SY 2018-2019), it is our hope that MPS Leadership will recognize the impact that you, and these programs, contribute to our community and provide funding toward any differences between "requested amount" and final granted.

2019-2020 Grant Awards (in order of our receipt):

Administration Requests:

Parents of Color Engagement: $1,350.00

Link Crew: $2,700.00 ($1,500 directly donated in memory of former Counselor, Bruce Sabatke)

Project Success: $4,500.00

Clubs and Activities: $4,500.00

Offsite Education Experiences (Transportation): $3,600.00

ACT Prep: $9,000.00

Individual/Team Requests:

Creative Writing Workshop and Trips (Megan Marsnik): $840.00

Advanced Academics; Testing, scholarships, etc (Lisa Ledman) : $7,000.00

Upstream Arts (Katie Lipe): $2,000.00

AVID (Caroline Hooper): $1,500.00

Community Ed Theater (JoEllyn Jolstad): $1,000.00

Voice Lessons (Bryan Fisher): $1,500.00 (contribution directly earmarked for this request)

ESL (Louise Bonner & Donna Hendrickson): $548.00

American Mathematics Tests (David McMayer): $500.00

Japanese Exchange Program (Kyoko French): $276.00

Study Buddies (Dave Premack): $500.00

ASL (Jodi Marker Perelman): $350.00

Model UN Conferences (Robert Kohnert): $2,000.00

Anchor Program Sensory Room (Qweyonoh Parker): $650.00

Robotics Registration/Activities (John Pearson): $825.00

After School Tutoring/Prime Time (Tina Lee & Karen Ba): $7,500.00

Passport to College (Danielle Jastrow): $500.00

English Guest Artists (Casey Briskin): $600.00

Interactive experiences with actors and writers (Robert Rees): $400.00

PTSO (Julie Flaskamp & Tina Lee): $4,000.00

Athletics/Sport Clubs (funded with specific ((limited)) athletic-club financial resources):

612 Mountain Bike Club (Jose Fresco): $1,000.00

Southwest Sailing (Nicole Giuliani): $1,000.00

Southwest Foundation General Principles and Guidelines for 2019-2020 Grant Awards

The Southwest Foundation provides grants for use by Southwest High School to support academic, artistic and athletic excellence for its students. The Foundation annually solicits grant proposals from Southwest teachers, administrators and staff and evaluates the proposals in accordance with these general principles and guidelines. Funds from awarded grants must be managed and expended by the responsible teachers, administrators and staff in compliance with all school and district policies.

General Principles

The Foundation:

1. Values programs and activities that serve academic, artistic and athletic excellence

2. Values programs and activities that directly benefit students

3. Values programs and activities that are directed at innovation

4. Values programs that support disadvantaged students

5. Considers funding travel if it directly benefits students

6. Considers funding food and beverages for an event if it directly benefits students

7. Considers funding technology if it directly benefits students

8. Does not exclude or give preference to previously funded non-administrative programs

9. Does not fund requests that should be funded by the district

10. Endeavors to fund requests fully, but may provide partial funding when appropriate

11. Does not fund partisan political activities (activities in support of a registered political party or a campaign of a candidate for election), but may support nonpartisan political activities (e.g., nonpartisan educational programs)

12. Evaluates proposals and provides grants in accordance with the district’s Equal Opportunity Policy

Guidelines for decision-making:

The Foundation considers the following factors in evaluating grant proposals:

1. Support of academic excellence

2. Support of artistic excellence

3. Support of athletic excellence

4. Direct benefit to students

5. Quality of program, service, activity or other support in providing enrichment to students

6. Benefit to students who need the most help or are historically underserved

7. Targeting of programs, services, activities or other support to the largest number of students consistent with

the need

8. Support of innovation

9. Financial need that cannot be met by alternative sources of funds

10. Financial need that cannot be met by district spending

11. If the program was funded previously, demonstration of appropriate use of funds and success in achieving

desired results

12. Support administration priorities.

13. Will fund a limited number artist in residence or guest artist requests each year and encourage collaboration

Every year we host an annual grant request. Find our 2019 Grant Application HERE. Using specific guidelines and principles, the Southwest Foundation Board reviews all requests and awards grants.  Grants are awarded at the end of the school year for the following year.  Grants for the 2019-2020 school year we hope to fund with your help include:

  • Study Buddies

  • ACT preparation and testing for every student

  • 9th and 10th grade play, guest artists, guest actors

  • Field trip costs and classroom supplies

  • The Link Crew student mentorship program

  • The 9th Grade Academy to promote community and school spirit

  • Project Success to help students explore possibilities and make real plans for their future 

  • Hospitality activities throughout the year to focus on student and staff well-being

  • Resources for newcomer English language learners at Southwest

  • Field trip for IB Japanese students with visitors from our sister school in Japan - Kasugaoka HS,

  • Student scholarships and supplies for service projects

  • Offsite testing locations

  • Student awards & postage

  • Field trips and incentives for School within School program

  • Event evening for the ASL program known as Silent Night

  • Supplies for a Sensory Room for students in the ASD program

  • Passport to College workshop

  • Author visits

  • Respect Retreat with Youth Frontiers

  • Model UN local and Chicago conferences

  • Many after-school clubs and activities

  • Scholarships for graduating seniors

And more.... 

You can make a difference for the students at Southwest high school with a donation here.


See our latest Newsletter: Spring 2019