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Investing in Community Education

The Elmbrook Education Foundation supports the students at all 11 of the District's public schools through its Continuing Education Scholarship, Innovation Grant and Super Grant Programs.  In addition, the Foundation has established an endowment held by the Waukesha County Community Foundation to provide a source of permanent support for Foundation programs. For more information, please refer to the Foundation's web site.

Honorariums Fuel Legacy for Elmbrook: Retirements, Bil Zahn, Hillside, etc.

The Elmbrook Education Foundation promotes educational excellence throughout all 11 Elmbrook Schools through its Educational Grant and Continuing Education Scholarship Programs. The Foundation’s primary areas of interest include Innovative Instruction, Teaching Excellence and Continuing Education. The Foundation administers funds on behalf of the community to support these areas of interest to help sustain the quality of the Elmbrook School District.  These funds are often developed through honorariums for those that have had an impact on Elmbrook or to support the Foundation's efforts to sustain the quality of the community's public schools.

Continuing Education Scholarships

The Foundation administers a community wide scholarship program to match applicants to community sponsors based on the sponsor’s criteria.   This ensures that the greatest number of Elmbrook graduates can be awarded each year since each applicant can only win one of the scholarships administered by the Foundation. The Foundation is excited to be able to award a total of 31 scholarships in 2012! 

Scholarship funding is relatively stable due to the number of honorary/memorial funds that have been established in honor of Elmbrook staff and students. Almost half of the scholarships to be awarded this year come from restricted/permanent funds established by the community. The rest are generously donated by local businesses and civic groups each year. “We are very fortunate to have maintained almost all of our annual sponsors despite the downtown in the economy in recent years. We are thankful that our sponsors continue to see the value of our program”, says Laura Schmidt, Executive Director. “The Foundation is also grateful to see a steady increase in its restricted/endowed scholarship balances each year as this will provide added stability and increased support for Elmbrook students interested in post-secondary education. We are honored to have earned the trust of the community in this regard” says Schmidt.  

Donations are still being accepted for the following memorial scholarship funds established in 2010-11. The Irven Hoesly Memorial Scholarship Fund (PPMS Principal 1958-1985), and the Holly Christina Stahl ‘Love Life’ Scholarship Fund (BCHS, Class of 2009).

In addition, two new honorary funds are being developed this year. 

The Hillside Elementary Student Scholarship Fund is being developed by the current Hillside PTO to provide a legacy for Hillside. The Elmbrook School Board decided to close Hillside in June of 2012. If this appeal is successful, this fund will provide scholarships to Hillside Alumni until Hillside’s final kindergarten class graduates from Elmbrook. 

The Bil Zahn Honorary – Burleigh Student Scholarship Fund is being developed by the current Burleigh PTO to provide a legacy in honor of Bil Zahn who is retiring after 27 years of service within Elmbrook.  Bil has directed retirement honorariums to this fund and will be personally sponsoring the first scholarship in 2012 in honor of the Elmbrook education all 3 of his children received.

Parents, staff, retirees, alumni, etc. with a connection to either Hillside and/or Bil are encouraged to consider a gift to these funds. Gifts can be made online via the Foundation’s website.

Educational Grants

Educational Grants provide proof of concept funding for new ideas and/or implement proven concepts District-wide that simply could not otherwise be funded. Prior grants have included new computer labs, proof of concept projects (for example, utilizing eReaders, iPads, and/or new instructional practices), and support for the implementation of SMART Technologies throughout Elmbrook schools. 

All grant funding is currently dependent on the Foundation’s annual fundraising efforts which can be inconsistent based on shifts in the economy and/or the availability of volunteers to assist with the Foundation’s efforts. In addition, the needs of the District change frequently depending on the state of public school financing. Non-mandated projects/programs that engage, enrich and inspire are annually at risk as operating and/or unit budgets are adjusted to accommodate variations in revenue. The Foundation is developing an endowment which will provide a permanent revenue stream to supplement annual fundraising to provided added stability for and expand the Foundation’s grant programs. This will allow the Foundation to be more proactive as the needs of the District change over time. 

Honorariums are a major part of the development of the Foundation’s endowment. Elmbrook staff make contributions annually as part of the District’s annual non-profit appeal and/or redirect anniversary/retirement gifts to the endowment.   Donations have also been received simply “out of gratitude and pride for the opportunity to work in Elmbrook”.   In addition, parents make contributions in honor of their graduates, a respected staff member, or a school program/activity that meant a lot to their student during their time in Elmbrook.  Gifts from student and alumni groups (class reunions, etc.) are also sincerely appreciated. 

Donors can currently direct their donation to the General Fund, the EEF Board Leadership Fund, the Elmbrook Staff Lead the Way fund, the BCHS Alumni Fund, or the BEHS Alumni Fund. Additional funds will be developed based on community interest. In 2011, the Brucker family started a family fund in an effort to help sustain the Foundation’s grants programs.   The Foundation also receives donations for the endowment via memorials and bequests. 

How to Make an Honorarium Gift

Honorariums can be sent to the Foundation at any time via P.O. Box 206, Brookfield, WI 53005.   A list of those employees retiring this year can be found on the Elmbrook Web Site.   In addition, some other valued staff are leaving the District to pursue their professional goals: 

  • Corey Golla, Brookfield East Athletics Director, 16 years of service 
  • Andy Farley, Head Basketball Coach, 9 years of service
  • Eileen Depka, Assistant Superintendent Curriculum, 5 years of service

Honorees are notified of gifts received in their honor unless the donor would prefer to remain anonymous. All gifts are acknowledged for tax purposes. For additional information or to make an online donation, please refer to the Foundation’s web site at or send inquiries to

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