By TONIA HILL
Whole Foods Market, 5118 S. Lake Park Ave., will donate funds to support Friends of Kenwood Academy, a non-profit organization and fundraising arm for Kenwood Academic Center and Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave.
Whole Foods will donate five percent of its proceeds on Wednesday, Sept. 20, to Friends of Kenwood Academy.
Five percent days as they are known are an opportunity for Whole Foods stores to support local causes within surrounding communities.
“We look to organizations that are directly around the stores that our shoppers support because we know that these are important organizations that do good work within the community,” said Allison Phelps, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods Market.
Friends of Kenwood Academy, Phelps said, have done “great work for the students by providing extra educational opportunities for them. It was something that connected us to that organization, and we are honored to support them.”
The donation drive will begin when the store opens and ends when it closes.
Friends of Kenwood raise funds to help bridge the gap of the school’s budget, as well as implement and update technology, programs and after-school activities.
The organization came back on the scene this year. A previous version of the Friends of Kenwood was formed in the 1970s.
Before the organization dissolved in 2008, one of its main acts of service to the school was raising enough money to keep developers from purchasing the land that is now used as the school’s track and field.
Kimberly Harding Chase, founder and president of the organization presented its new 501c3 non-profit status in February to the school’s Parent Advisory Council.
Since its reboot, the organization has also been on the move to gather funds for its summer donation drive.
Fritz Kaegi, a Kenwood alum, has pledged to match funds raised by Friends of Kenwood. Kaegi has promised to match donations up to a total of $10,000 a year, for the next three years.
As of this last week, Friends of Kenwood reached their $10,000 goal for this year. Donations totaled $10,820 as of Herald press time.
Chase Harding said though they’ve met their $10,000 goal for 2017, they would like to reach $50,000.
“We are limited to fundraising $50,000 this year,” Chase Harding said. “We’d like to make $50,000. Jones, Walter Payton and Whitney Young [selective enrollment high schools in Chicago] raise $300,000 to $500,000 every year under their friends program [501c3 organizations].”
Now that the organization has reached its $10,000 goal, which will be matched by Kaegi, they need $30,000 more to meet their year-end goal.
“We need to raise $30,000 to meet that goal by Christmas, and we think we can do that with the community’s help,” Chase Harding said.
“We are going to need the community’s help in raising the money for their community school,” Chase Harding said. “We believe that whether or not community members attended Kenwood Academy or have children that attend the school, they are vested in their community and community schools. Community members want their community schools to do well and that equates to financial contributions. We look forward to working with the entire neighborhood and ensuring we are not leaving money on the table by reaching out to their employer match programs as well.”
Chase Harding said recently the Home Depot on Clinton Avenue, in the South Loop neighborhood, collaborated with Kenwood Academic Center to beautify the school grounds.
For more information about the donation drive visit kenwoodfriends.org