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Naperville Education Foundation awarded $250K grant through Edward-Elmhurst Health to support students’ mental health and behavioral needs

A $250,000 grant awarded to the Naperville Education Foundation (NEF) through Edward-Elmhurst Health’s Community Investment Fund will allow Naperville 203 to further support students who have significant mental health and behavioral needs.

The grant will support NEF’s role in the district’s RISE program, which aims to remove barriers to mental health services by developing a comprehensive community wrap-around process that allows the district to be responsive and flexible to the individual needs of students and families.

“We are extremely appreciative of our partnership with Edward-Elmhurst Health, both for the grant and for the continued support of our students, families, and community,” Naperville 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges said. “This grant will allow Naperville 203 to move forward with plans to increase the support offered to our students and families who need it most.”

NEF is Naperville 203’s nonprofit 501(c)(3) that supplements school district budgets by providing financial resources that increase learning opportunities. The organization applied for and received the grant – which is the largest awarded to the foundation in its 30-year history – to provide funding for wrap-around services for Naperville 203 students and families.

“We are incredibly grateful for the investment Edward-Elmhurst Health is making in our community,” NEF Executive Director Wendy Goettsch said. “The impact of this funding will make a long-lasting difference for our Naperville 203 students and their families.”

The RISE program allows for the creation of support plans that are individualized to students and families in crisis. These plans will address academic and social emotional needs, and make proactive connections across home, school and community. While plans will look different for each student and family, some potential examples of support provided through this grant may include: financial assistance for basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, advocacy courses, parent education, or learning English.

“We are beyond honored to be recipients of this grant, which allows us to expand the number of students and families we are able to support,” said Lisa Xagas, Naperville 203’s Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. “These services have the power to change the trajectory of the lives of our students.”

RISE is an acronym that stands for: Removing barriers so students can succeed, Individualized support plans, Services on-site for students, and Empowering families.

NEF was one of 14 organizations throughout DuPage, Cook and Will Counties who received $3,994,000 in the first distribution from Edward-Elmhurst Community Investment Fund. Community organizations were selected based on alignment with Edward-Elmhurst Health's Community Investment Fund objectives – health equity, social determinants of health and community economic security.