Big shout-out to the Michigan Educational Credit Union!

Marking its 11th year of support for the Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation, the Michigan Educational Credit Union recently presented a generous check for $10,000, which will help support the Competitive Edge College Savings program for LPS families.

MECU is dedicated to the mission of the LPS Education Foundation and has been since 2007. MECU supports the Foundation’s efforts to expand the educational resources for students and assist parents in planning for their children’s post-secondary education.

MECU is a founding partner of the LPS Education Foundation, making its first donation in 2007. The cumulative gifts total $110,000 over that time period.

The LPS Education Foundation’s Competitive Edge program establishes a 529 educational trust account for any LPS parent of a kindergartner who enrolls in the program. An initial $100 gift is made by the Foundation, with additional contributions from the Foundation, as budgets allow. The Foundation currently has nearly 2,500 students enrolled in the program, and MECU has generously donated the funding over the past 11 years to contribute to the accounts of 1,100 students enrolled.

The LPS Education Foundation and the community are grateful and proud to have MECU as a dedicated partner.

Teaming up with the Pistons; it’s a win win!

Pay separately, get together!

Join the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena as they take on the Clippers, Pelicans and Hawks!

The Pistons will donate a portion of every ticket sold back to the LPS education Foundation to help provide grants to benefit teachers and students.

  • Friday, February 9  vs. Los Angeles Clippers
  • Monday, February 12 vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Wednesday, February 14 vs. Atlanta Hawks

For more information or to buy tickets, visit

Community support continues for LPS Education Foundation

Luncheon 2017

Keynote speaker Ron Fournier talked about politics, both past and present.

Seat by seat, table by table, the room filled with more than 230 supporters of the LPS Education Foundation, during its annual fundraising luncheon held Nov. 8 at St. Mary’s Cultural and Banquet Center in Livonia.

From business and education to faith and non-profits, it was a tremendous show of support, according to LPS Education Foundation President Diane Policelli.

“It is a tribute to our community and to the LPS Education Foundation that you have filled the room to show your support,” said Policelli.

Luncheon chairman Jay Young said several people have commented that this is a “must attend” event, each year, because it serves as a major source of funding for the Foundation’s Competitive Edge College Savings Program.

The Foundation offers to set up a college savings trust account for each kindergarten student in Livonia Public Schools, with an initial deposit made by the Foundation and additional contributions being added by the Foundation, each year, as budgets allow. Once the student graduates from LPS, he or she can use the accumulated funds toward a college, trade or any other post-secondary program, anywhere in the nation.

Since the Competitive Edge program began in 2008, the Foundation has set up savings accounts for nearly 2,500 students and has donated almost $350,000 to the students’ accounts. For the current school year, the Foundation added 420 students to the program.

LPS parent Amy Schilbe took advantage of Competitive Edge by signing up her kindergartener last school year.

“Even though college seems very far off, it’s great to know that we already have a start, thanks to the generosity of the LPS Education Foundation,” said Schilbe. “This is a unique program that is not found in most school districts.”

The eighth annual luncheon is the main fund-raising event for the program, and always features “outstanding” guest speakers, noted Young.

This year, Crain’s Detroit Business editor and publisher Ron Fournier offered stories from his political reporting career and political insight into today’s local and national landscape. The Detroit native is an award-winning and critically acclaimed political contributor to The Atlantic who started his career in Arkansas, covering then-governor Bill Clinton, before moving to Washington DC to cover the politics and the presidency during the administrations of Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Fournier also served as a 2005 fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, where he co-wrote the New York Times best seller, Applebee’s America.

Each year, hometown favorite, Steve Courtney, WJR sports director, serves as host and emcee, offering a dose of humor to the event.

More about the Foundation

The LPS Education Foundation’s grant program is in its fifth year, and has distributed 85 grants totaling $183,000 to LPS classrooms, schools and departments. Each year, LPS teachers and non-instructional staff may apply for a Foundation grant to fund a special project, equipment or other needs that may be outside of the district’s budget.

A grant committee reviews the applications and selects which requests will be funded. A group of grant committee members recently paid 24 staff members a surprise visit, with over-sized checks in hand.

“This is a wonderful gift from the Education Foundation that we are very proud of,” said Policelli.

Grants are funded, in part, by staff donations which are matched by the Foundation. A Champions program was established to ensure staff awareness and to help generate and maintain financial support for the program. Additional donations for the grant program are made by corporate and individual donors.

The Foundation also operates a literacy program, which provides one-on-one or small group literacy tutoring for elementary school students. The program enables retired LPS staff members the opportunity to continue to make a difference in students’ lives.

Masco supports the LPS Foundation

Recently Masco Corporation presented the Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation with a very generous contribution.

Shown here from left to right are Paul Condon-Foundation Director, Sue Sabo-Director of Communications and Corporate Giving for Masco Corporation, Diane Policelli-President LPS Education Foundation and Andrea Oquist-Superintendent of Livonia Public Schools.

 Masco Corporation recently moved its world headquarters to Livonia and has made an impact on many local charitable groups including the LPS Education Foundation.  “We are so very honored to have such a fine company as a partner in our mission” said Paul Condon.  “Their support will go a long way in aiding our efforts to enhance the educational experience of all students in the Livonia School District.”

8th Annual luncheon scheduled for November 8, 2017

Steve Courtney, WJR Sports Director & radio personality, is back to host this year’s Luncheon, being held on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from noon until 1:30pm at St. Mary’s Cultural and Banquet Center.

Tickets may be purchased ($50 ea. or $500 for a table of 10) by downloading the 2017 Foundation Luncheon Flyer or via PayPalIf using PayPal, please list attendee names in the ‘Notes’ area.

Keynote Speaker Ron Fournier is publisher and editor of Crain’s Detroit Business and an award-winning and nationally acclaimed political contributor to The Atlantic.  A Detroit native, he started his family and career in Arkansas, covering then-governor Bill Clinton before moving to Washington in 1993, where he reported on politics and the presidency during the administrations of Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  Fournier also served as a 2005 fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, where he co-wrote the New York Times best-seller Applebee’s America.  He now serves on the Harvard IOP Board of Advisors.  Before returning to Detroit in the fall of 2016, Fournier published a parenting memior, Love that Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations.  It debuted No. 10 on and was a New York Times best seller.

AmazonSmile: A new way to support the LPS Education Foundation!

The LPS Education Foundation has partnered with AmazonSmile!

AmazonSmile works this way: When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations. In order to browse or shop at AmazonSmile, customers must first select a charitable organization.

For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected charitable organization.

Click here for the direct link to the LPS Education Foundation’s AmazonSmile page.  Be sure to bookmark this link in your browser so that  0.5% of your purchase price will benefit the LPS Foundation!

Thank you, MECU!

The LPS Education Foundation was presented with a $10,000 dollar check from Michigan Educational Credit Union on Monday February 13th to benefit the Competitive Edge College Savings Program.  Seen here are Andrea Oquist Superintendent of Livonia Public Schools, Wendy Marquette representing MECU and Paul Condon, board member on the LPS Education Foundation.  “The donation will go a long way to support the mission of the LPS Education Foundation and we thank Michigan Educational Credit Union for their continued and generous support”, said Paul Condon.

Brewing Joy for the LPS Education Foundation

Dunkin’ Donuts gave away free medium hot coffees to the first 500 customers at their Commerce Township and Farmington locations to celebrate the holiday season on Wednesday, Dec. 21, and presented the Gleaners Community Food Bank with a $5,000 grant, as well as a $1,000 donation to the Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation.

The free coffee and donations were part of Dunkin’ Donuts’ national “Brewing Joy” program at select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide, between Dec. 12 and Dec. 23.

Thank you, Dunkin’ Donuts!

‘Giving Tuesday’ celebrated at LPS Education Foundation Luncheon

It was appropriate that the 7th annual Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation fund-raising luncheon took place on Tuesday, November 29, a day dubbed as Giving Tuesday.

“Today, we celebrate your gifts to our students, our schools and our community,” said Livonia Public Schools Superintendent Andrea Oquist to a crowd of more than 250 LPS Education Foundation supporters in attendance at the annual luncheon held at St. Mary’s Cultural Center in Livonia. “We are better, stronger and more successful because of you.”

The luncheon, emceed by WJR Sports Director Steve Courtney, raises money for the Foundation’s Competitive Edge College Savings Program for LPS kindergartners, which has more than 1,700 students enrolled.  The Competitive Edge College Savings Program offers to set-up a college savings trust account for each kindergarten student in the Livonia Public Schools School District. An initial deposit is made by the LPS Education Foundation and additional contributions are made by the Foundation, as budgets allow. As the child grows, the account grows, giving that eventual high school senior a “competitive edge” upon graduation.

This year’s luncheon keynote speaker was WDIV-TV Channel 4 news anchor Devin Scillian, who talked about his life as a journalist and author of 17 children’s books.  He said his work has taken him all around the world, several times, from China to Russia to Cuba and to eight Olympiads. He’s even been a passenger in a nuclear submarine, twice.

But, the “coolest thing” he has accomplished in his professional life was getting his first children’s book, entitled Fibblestax, published in 2000. He said he will always cherish this book, which led to 16 more through the years.

Scillian shared his passion for books – the real kind, with pages, binding and a cover.

“I love the permanence of a book,” he said, noting that books hold a certain magic that’s waiting to be discovered by the reader.

Scillian’s support of literacy coincides with the LPS Education Foundation’s support for early literacy, by way of elementary school tutoring, and through its classroom grant program, which provides learning tools to classrooms throughout the district. To date, the Foundation has given 62 grants to LPS teachers, totaling more than $138,000.  LPS employees also support the Foundation’s many efforts by contributing designated amounts from their paychecks, through the Champions Program.

“We are very aggressive in supporting the educational needs of our students,” said LPS Education Foundation Director Lorna Durand. “Thank you for contributing to this great success.”

Teachers surprised by LPS Foundation classroom grant awards

Members of the LPS Education Foundation recently took to the streets on a good will tour, traveling to 14 schools to deliver 19 classroom grants to unsuspecting, but very appreciative, teachers.

The surprise presentations of over-sized checks brought huge smiles to the faces of the teachers who wrote compelling grant requests to fund a classroom project, initiative, equipment, supplies or materials that will benefit their students.

The LPS Education Foundation received 29 grant requests, totaling nearly $83,000 and was able to award 19 grants, totaling $42,000. Now in its fourth year, the grant program is supported by the LPS Education Foundation’s designated funds, community contributions and employee payroll deductions to the Foundation.

Grant requests support the district’s mission, vision and curriculum.

“The day that we distribute the grant awards to staff is the highlight of the process,” said Lorna Durand, who is a retired LPS administrator and chair of the grant review committee. “We are always impressed by the commitment, passion and vision that each applicant presents in their proposal. While the review process is intense, it is well worth it, as we are witness to the staff and student excitement and appreciation as well as to the innovation and success the grants have provided the past four school years.”

Awardees include:

  • Colleen Nowak, Kennedy Elementary: Books for the school’s Battle of the Books program for third and fourth graders.
  • Caryl Dazer, Cass and Cleveland elementary schools: DrumFit cardio drumming physical fitness program.
  • Dr. Jennifer Clay, Roosevelt Elementary: i-Ready math assessment for at-risk math students.
  • Alicia Bashawaty, Kennedy Elementary: Makerspace improvements
  • Patricia Cooke, Coolidge Elementary: Classroom technology – Chromebooks
  • Kathy Frame and Natalie Cicchelli, Webster Elementary: Newsela Chromebook project
  • Janice Skibinski, Hoover Elementary: Classroom technology — Chromebooks
  • Jackie McPherson, Garfield Elementary: Literacy materials for Great Start Readiness Program
  • Elizabeth Gostomski, Kennedy Elementary: Flexible classroom seating
  • Elizabeth Hering, Churchill High School: Composer workshops and commissioned work to tie in with grand opening of new CHS theater in November 2018.
  • Megan Bruestle, Riley Upper Elementary: Classroom technology – Chromebooks
  • Julie Juenemann, Cooper Upper Elementary: Project Wisdom character education program
  • Karen Grima, Western Wayne Skill Center: Technology for nonverbal and limited verbal students with austism.
  • Lori Marsh, Kennedy Elementary: Adaptive technology for students with visual impairments.
  • John Farkas and Nikki Wojciechowski, Holmes Middle School: Collaborative learning with Chromebooks
  • Kathy Weaver, Johnson Upper Elementary: Project Wisdom character education program.
  • Jacqueline Price, Franklin High School: Books for classroom libraries in English Department classes
  • David Roesser, Franklin High School: Equipment and supplies for drafting program.
  • Sherry Juncaj and Shawn Parsons, Riley Upper Elementary: Character education initiative, ‘Wonder.’

Durand said the grant applications are screened for how much a proposal benefits students. At the end of each school year, the grant recipients share the results of the grants with members of the LPS Education Foundation.

“We have been impressed with the results each year and the positive impact not only on those students but on those schools and the district,” said Durand.

The grant program is just one of several programs of the LPS Education Foundation, which raises funds all year, through community business partnerships and support, the annual fall luncheon event, the LPS Bounce Back to School event as well as LPS employee contributions.