With slightly more than two weeks to go, supporters of lights at Memorial Field need to raise $83,000 to reach their fundraising goal of $325,000.
As of March 19 the group has $242,000 in the bank for erecting lights at the Glenbard West High School athletic field, said John Brodner, the spokesman for the fundraising group. Brodner hopes to raise enough money to entirely fund the installation of two 60-foot and four 70-foot light poles at Memorial Field.
“We’ve had great support throughout the community,” Brodner said.
Brodner said he believes the fundraising efforts will be met by the April 9 deadline, which is when the District 87 board of education is expected to vote on bids for the estimated $325,000 project. How school board members will vote remains up in the air. One member of the school board, Mary Ozog, is an opponent of the lights and wife to the attorney who represented the group opposed to the lights.
The fundraising account is being managed by Partnership for Educational Progress, a charitable Glen Ellyn parent-teacher organization with a voluntary board of trustees, administrators and school board members from the affiliated school districts. Brodner said PEP informs him of total deposits, but not the source of the funds. PEP was one of the groups that raised funds for artificial turf at the same field in 2010.
According to the PEP 2010 tax filing, the most current available, the organization generated $448,026 in revenue and spent $105,990, leaving a balance of $342,036.
In a response to an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request filed by Patch, Jo Ahrens, the secretary of the board of education, said the district does not maintain any records of PEP accounts. Ahrens, Brodner, and Chris McClain, assistant superintendent for business purposes, were unsure if any leftover field turf donations existed, and if those leftovers would be used to fund the lights.
“I wish I could help you, but we don’t have anything to do with those accounts,” said McClain.
McClain said he planned to contact PEP at the end of the month to see if the fundraising team was close to the $325,000 goal. Upon learning the group had raised $242,000 this week, McClain said he was pleased.
“That’s good news, something I didn’t know,” McClain said.
Earlier this year Bob and Kay Hendricks anonymously pledged to foot the entire $325,000 project. However, after a group opposing the lights filed a FOIA seeking the identity of the donors, Brodner said the fundraising effort is not counting on their assistance. He said the couple wanted their donation to remain anonymous, but the FOIA request filed by Jim Ozog, the attorney who represented Our Field Our Town, changed that.
“They don’t feel they’re obligated to do that anymore due to the anonymity requirement,” Brodner said.
A March 20th non-binding referendum on the lights proposed by Our Field Our Town revealed 54 percent of Glen Ellyn voters supported the lights proposal. A total of 5,118 voters were cast with 2,766 supporting the lights.
The Glen Ellyn board unanimously approved the installation in January and if all goes according to plan the lights will be installed by the 2012 fall sports season.