Who would have thought in 1987 when the Riverside Brookfield Educational Foundation was formed that here in 2017 it would continue to be a thriving organization providing educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff at Riverside-Brookfield High School?
With the exception of a few years when the foundation was inactive, it was brought back in the year 2000 to continue its mission.
In 1989, the foundation’s board of trustees held its first and most ambition fundraising event, a telethon to be produced live on RBTV. In that first year, it was awarded a John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, the only high school at the time to receive the prestigious honor.
Behind the scenes at the studio were staff members Luke Palermo, Dawn Heller and Gary Prokes, who continues to be the force in the studio, aided by Mary Todhunter.
Last year the telethon raised close to $20,000 through donations. Corporate funding has increased over the years as well as premiums that are available.
The telethon involves more than 100 people, including those behind the camera, telephone callers, on-air hosts and the on-stage live entertainers. Many of those volunteer workers are alumni, parents, students or just people who believe in supporting education.
The live entertainment this year will continue in the auditorium, with one of the performers being Trent James, RBHS graduate and well-known magician. Producing the entertainment are Diane Marelli and Jacob Palka, foundation trustees and talents in their own right.
Faculty, staff and students can apply for grants through the RBEF, allowing them to participate in fine arts programs, leadership conferences, foreign language seminars, science and technology conferences, workshop and classes, and applied arts programs.
Award recipients later are asked to describe what they learned, and interviews with many grant recipients are broadcast during the telethon.
Telethon 2017 will be live on RBTV on Saturday, March 18 from 1 to 9 p.m. and may be seen on Comcast Channel 16 in Riverside or Channel 99 AT&T in Brookfield. It will also stream live online at www.rbtv.tv.
Donations may be made by calling 708-442-9990 or sending a check to RB Educational Foundation, 160 Ridgewood Road, Riverside, Illinois 60546. All donations are tax deductible.
More information about the RB Educational Foundation can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 708-442-7500 or visiting online at www.rbef.tv.