2019 Annual D200 Education Foundation Groundhog Fundraiser

What’s a better way to celebrate our 25th Anniversary than sharing our gratitude for the most successful D 200 Education Foundation ever? Neither Woodstock Willie nor his shadow could possibly imagine one.

This year’s Groundhog Day Dinner/Auction was held Feb. 9 at Woodstock Harley-Davidson. More than 360 attended the event, which raised more than $50,000 to be distributed for worthwhile educational initiatives in District 200 schools.

The money raised is used to fund Impact Grants requested by District 200 teachers and educators. A Foundation committee reviews applications for the grants — more than 70 of which were funded this fall by more than $37,000 in grants to pay for playground equipment, field trips, and musical instruments for children with special needs among dozens of other requests.

This is why we do what we do, but we couldn’t do it without the help and generosity of many area businesses and individuals who make our annual event a success. There are too many to name, but we’re so fortunate to have a community that cares so much about our schools.

We were so pleased to once again hold the event at Woodstock Harley-Davidson and are so thankful for their staff’s time and generosity at this unique venue. It’s been wonderful to be able to keep the event right here in town.

As usual, the crowd was a wonderful mix of school district staff, City of Woodstock and community leaders, parents, alumni, former teachers and neighbors who share a common passion for children.

We’re also grateful for our major event sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors – Woodstock Branch, and our other generous corporate sponsors: American Community Bank & Trust, Associated Electrical Contractors, Aurora University Woodstock Center, Althoff Industries, and BMO Harris Bank

Many, many individuals and small businesses also contributed items for our raffles including District 200 staff. National Honor Society Students from both Woodstock and Woodstock North High Schools helped at the event and the Woodstock High School Jazz Band performed beautifully for our guests.

The Foundation Board of Trustees is made up of myself, Bridget Belcastro, Jennifer Thomas, Al Wilson, Mark Heckmon, Larry Baier, Martha Hansen, Joe Starzynski, Jaci Krandel, Kurt Bogott, Pam Moorhouse, Vicki Rank, and Erich Thurow.

They’ve already begun planning for next year’s event and their volunteer efforts are so appreciated. We also appreciate the support of Board of Education Liaison John Parisi, Superintendent Mike Moan, and District Communications Director Kevin Lyons.

We were also pleased to honor Sue Palmore Award of Excellence winner Rick Morozink, a retired and beloved Olson and Creekside Middle School teacher and coach. The annual award has been a fantastic way to recognize remarkable individuals who’ve made tremendous contributions over many years to our school communities.

While the Groundhog Day Dinner/Auction remains our biggest and traditional event, last year we also hosted a Wine Walk with the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce for the first time and are looking forward to the next Wine Walk on Sept. 25. Mark your calendars!

Just like the 1993 “Groundhog Day” film taught us, some things are worth doing over and over again. And although we think we’ve got it right, we’re always looking for ways to improve upon our event and to continue providing unique educational opportunities for the 6,300 plus students in Woodstock Community Unit School District 200.

We can’t wait to see you all again next year on Feb. 8, 2020 at Woodstock Harley-Davidson and hope everyone enjoyed the evening as much as we did.


  • Billie Cornell is chairman of the D 200 Education Foundation