Plans are underway for the 2019-20 luncheon

Planning has begun for this fall’s annual luncheon! It will be held at St. Mary’s Cultural Center, 18100 Merriman Road, Livonia on Wednesday, October 30.  To view this year’s luncheon invitation, click here.

This year, our guest speaker will be Bill Parlberg, President and COO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth. Bill is the youngest of five children and a life-long Frankenmuth resident who began his career at Zehnder’s more than 40 years ago as a dish worker.

As President, he oversees the operations of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Restaurant; which has fifteen hundred seats and is America’s largest family independent restaurant along with Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark, the Fortress 18-Hole Resort Golf Course and Zehnder’s Retail Division.

To read Mr. Parlberg’s complete biography, click here.

The cost of tickets is: $50. Money (check) can be sent to Jill Wozniak: 15125 Farmington Rd., Livonia, MI 48154 or by credit card/PayPal using the link below.

2018-19 Luncheon:
LPS Foundation thankful for support

Community support for the LPS Education Foundation continued this fall, as some 225 guests attended the annual fundraising luncheon event at St. Mary’s Cultural and Banquet Center to benefit the Foundation’s Competitive Edge College Savings Program.

“It is a tribute to our community that you’ve once again filled this room,” said Diane Policelli, president of the LPS Education Foundation, while addressing the crowd at the November 14, 2018 event.

Unique to LPS, the Competitive Edge Program offers families of kindergarten students the opportunity to enroll in this free program that allows them to start planning for post-secondary education or a skills training program.

The Foundation contributes seed money to an educational savings account and those funds grow throughout the child’s LPS educational career. Upon graduation from LPS, the funds may be used for any post-secondary education or skills training program. Since its inception in 2008, the Competitive Edge program has proudly enrolled nearly 3,000 students.

The luncheon was chaired by Jay Young, who is a Foundation director, and was emceed by WJR Sports Director Steve Courtney. The keynote speaker was Edward J. Peper, Jr., U.S. Vice President for General Motors Fleet. Peper emphasized that GM’s energy vision for the future is self-driving, electric vehicles that result in zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. He demonstrated that goal by showing a video of a self-driving car safely navigating the streets of San Francisco.

Peper also shared the three tenets of his success during his long career with GM: the opportunity to receive a great education; the opportunity to participate on athletic teams; and remembering to always treat every person he encounters with dignity and respect.

“I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities,” he said, adding that he draws inspiration from others, including Duke University Basketball Coach Krzyzewski, who once said, “You’ll never accomplish alone, the things you’ll accomplish with other people.”

Best year ever for Bounce Back to School

The 2018-2019 school year was welcomed with great excitement at this year’s Bounce Back to School event, held at Riley Upper Elementary on August 23. This annual party, which saw an estimated 1,000 guests, raised a record-breaking $10,000 for the LPS Education Foundation. These funds benefit the Foundation’s Competitive Edge program.

Boasting 13 inflatable attractions, four face paint artists, four balloon twisters, a petting zoo, horse and pony rides, sno-cones, cotton candy, and delicious concessions, there was something for everything and fun was had by all! We can’t wait for next year!



2017-18 Luncheon:
Community support continues for LPS Education Foundation

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, 2017 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.

Luncheon 2017

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.

The LPS Education Foundation’s grant program is in its sixth year, and has distributed 107 grants totaling $213,000 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.

%d bloggers like this: