Note: this post is part of a series about Noble’s preparation for the upcoming school year.
The pandemic has meant incredible hardship for some in our Chicago and Noble community. When school buildings closed in the spring we knew that great remote instruction would be absolutely necessary but it wouldn’t be enough. That’s why Noble formed the Noble Family Support Fund to try to support our community by any means necessary. We sat down with Noble’s new Chief Development Officer, Maria Lefkow Sorensen to hear about how it came together and what’s next.
Q: Hi Maria, thank you for taking the time. Where did the idea for the Noble Family Support Fund come from and how did it get off the ground?
Maria Lefkow Sorensen
Chief Development Officer
A: The idea for the Noble family fund came from our Board Members, David Weinberg and Jennifer Wilson in March when the school closure took place. They wanted to make sure that there was a fund in place to support the immediate needs that will arise due to the crisis. David and Jennifer led the efforts of encouraging Noble’s Board of Directors to contribute. We continued to raise funds from additional individuals and organizations who were able to provide support in this way. While the fundraising was taking place, our Noble leaders developed a system to distribute the funds to families across our 18 schools who demonstrated an urgent and emergent need.
Since March, we’ve seen our community come together in support of our families. For example, Illinois Tool Works developed an employee match campaign. As a result, over 100 of their employees made a donation, and their contributions were then matched by the company three times the amount. Through this collective effort, ITW’s employees raised nearly $100,000 for the Family Support Fund. We are incredibly grateful to each and every person who went the extra mile to support our communities in such an impactful way.
Q: How are Noble Family Support Fund resources distributed?
A: We believe our campus staff are best positioned to understand what’s happening across the student population at each Noble school. So,the funds are distributed as principals learn the needs among their families. Given our diverse campus communities each Noble school uses their own slightly different systems to collect information about hardships. From there, a team from the Noble Support Team will process, review, analyze, track, and grant the requests.
Q: What are some of the ways you’ve seen the family fund support families?
A: The Noble Family Support Fund has helped families pay their rent, cover living expenses for things like utilities, food and clothing and sadly, for funeral expenses. The majority of requests (49%) have been for rent assistance while the next largest category of support (28%) has covered monthly payments to ComEd, People’s Gas and internet providers, etc. All in, we’ve been able to disburse almost $490,000 directly to almost 400 families in the past few months with more on the way out the door soon.
Q: If someone wanted to support the fund and contribute, how can they do that?
A: If you are interested in supporting Noble families, you may make a gift online and designate that the gift be directed to the Noble Family Support Fund via this link. You may also reach out directly to me at MLefkowSorensen@nobleschools.org.
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