The Peoria Education Foundation this month hosted a Past, Present and Future Virtual Event, which brought community members, business leader and sponsors together to learn more about the Peoria Unified School District’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The event raised more than $15,000 to support an emergency fund, scholarships for students and grants for teachers.
Peoria Unified School District serves more than 37,000 students in Glendale, Peoria, Surprise and Youngtown in 34 elementary schools, seven high schools and one non-traditional high school.
The event also highlighted this year’s Visionary Awards winners, which would have been recognized at a gala event in April:
- The 2020 Visionary Award Winner was the city of Peoria Mayor and City Councilmembers, who have provided support of Peoria Unified School District. The Mayor and Councilmembers helped illustrate how schools protect home values and how investments in quality education increase the city’s ability to attract jobs. In addition, the Mayor and City Councilmembers have supported partnerships that enhance the educational environment across the district’s 42 schools. The Foundation thanks Mayor Cathy Carlat, Vice Mayor Bridget Binsbacher, Councilmember Denette Dunn, Councilmember Jon Edwards, Councilmember Michael Finn, Councilmember Vicki Hunt and Councilmember Bill Patena for their support.
- The Peoria Education Foundation recognized 2020 Business Leader Award winner, Z’s Fine Jewelry, for contributions to the Foundation. Z’s Fine Jewelry is a family-owned and operated, full-service jewelry store in Peoria. The store is run by Joe Schiavone, along with his wife Brooke and Brooke’s parents, Bill and Jennifer Zacharias. Mr, Schiavone has donated his time and expertise to the Foundation, serving two years on the board of directors. The Foundation has benefited from his business sense as well as donations from the store for Foundation fundraisers.
- The Peoria Education Foundation recognized the 2020 Non-Profit Collaboration Award Recipient, The HART Pantry. The HART Pantry is a local non-profit with a primary mission to provide weekend food bags to teens who may be homeless or living in a situation with no adult support. They also provide basic clothing, toiletries, school supplies and refurbished bikes to allow teens to get to school and work. The HART Pantry’s Back to School programs help at-risk teens find confidence and a sense of belonging. Working with community partners, local business and churches, the Hart Pantry often helps struggling teenagers find jobs, get training and gain access to social support programs. The non-profit works with school counselors in Peoria Unified and neighboring districts to identify eligible kids and aid them with their individual needs.
- The Peoria Education Foundation recognized 2020 Community Partner Award Recipient Andre Licardi for his contributions to the Peoria Unified School District. Mr. Licardi had a pivotal role in the development of key partnerships such as the Kennedy Center and innovative programs including Arts Integration that enhanced arts instruction and allowed deeper and broader participation for students in the Peoria Unified School District. As a city of Peoria employee, Mr. Licardi expanded his advocacy and promotion of the arts and provides expert guidance to the staff and members of the Arts Commission.