Schulter Foundation Celebrates Six Years

by Peter von Buol

The Gene and Rosemary Schulter Foundation on the evening of October 5 celebrated its sixth anniversary by hosting its annual “Positive Impacts” fundraiser, which was once again held at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro at 3905 N. Lincoln Avenue.

At the event, the foundation’s Gene and Rosemary Schulter announced the recipients of the charitable foundation’s annual high-school and college scholarships. They also announced the foundation’s “Positive Impacts” Awards.

“It has been a busy year for the foundation. Through the generosity of its many supporters, the foundation, over the past few years, has been able to award 74 scholarships to area high-school and college students. This year, the foundation has expanded to support students from St. Matthias and Queen of Angels,” said Janet Davies, the event’s emcee and television news reporter at Chicago ABC-7.

In addition, added Davies, the foundation’s impact will continue to be felt at civic and charitable organizations throughout the 47th Ward. The foundation also supports free events such as movies and concerts.

“The foundation promoted, and made a financial contribution to, the new nature area at Welles Park (currently under construction). When everything comes together, when it blossoms in the spring, you will almost have a prairie here, again,” said a wistful Davies.

Davies personally thanked those who had joined the foundation in supporting the new Nature area in Welles Park. These supporters include Jon Levin of Turner Acceptance Corp.; Karl Riehn Insurance; Abas and Bardia Fard of Sierra Auto, Chris and Paula Pienton and Black Bear Academy.

Davies then spoke about how the foundation has been generous in supporting programming for the 47th Ward’s senior-citizens. She also warmly thanked the businesses and individuals that have partnered with the foundation to providing their financial support for senior programming. Supporters include The Widdes Family of Albany Auto; Hans Boden; Terry Kennedy, specialist in real-estate property-tax reductions; Karen and Al Lambrecht; Union Pacific Railroad, the Chicago Cubs, Wintrust Bank; Betty Baur Crescenzi and Frank Cresenzi of Lakeview Realty and Maria & Frank Bappert of the Ravenswood Kiwanis.

“With the help of Wintrust Bank, the foundation has supported senior safety programming. It has teamed up with the Chicago Cubs to host 1500 seniors at six outings. The foundation also sponsored a health fair on Sept. 29th at the Levy Center at 2019 W. Lawrence Avenue. More than 40 vendors provided valuable information to seniors. Hundreds and hundreds of seniors participated. This is going to now be an annual event. In fact, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked the Levy Center, and Ald. Schulter, in particular, to take on a leadership role in making the center a village. It will help seniors to do what is known as ‘aging in place.’ To many of our seniors, too many of them get shunted off to places where they feel left out and lonely and not good. Currently, there are 460,000 seniors in Chicago. That will increase to 750,000 in 10 years. That’s the baby-boomers. Oh my gosh, that’s me in there,” a laughing Davies told the audience.

With the city’s ever-expanding population of seniors, Davies added the importance of the city’s senior centers will increase and more volunteers will be needed.

“The city just does not yet have the volunteer infrastructure in place to deliver services in the future. Over the last six months, the foundation has organized meetings at the Levy Center to help develop its volunteer infrastructure,” Davies said.

Days after the event, the foundation picked up a $1,000 grant from Northcenter Chamber of Commerce. This is the third grant the Foundation has been awarded by the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce to support senior-programming.

At the event itself, Davies provided a special thanks to the underwriters of the foundations scholarship program.

“Special thanks go out to Wintrust Bank; Anthony Guaccio, president of Swedish Covenant Hospital at 5145 N. California Avenue, in honor of its Women’s Center; Comcast Cable and Gene and Rosemary Schulter. They are all supporting the foundation’s scholarship program,” Davies said.

In addition to providing funding for scholarships and senior-programming, the foundation also provides funding to a venerable local neighborhood organization dedicated to providing a safe place for area youth.

“One of the things that Janet Davies and I were talking about earlier was that we have these neighborhood groups within our ward that we help out as well. There is really an outstanding one called the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club (NBGC),” said Gene Schulter, speaking from the event’s podium.

The former alderman of the 47th Ward used the opportunity to introduce Natalia Rueda-Marshall, the 2018 NBGC scholarship recipient. The 18-year-old is currently a senior at Lane Tech High School.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Ald. Schulter and Mrs. Schulter for donating money to the NBGC scholarship fund. This will give me the opportunity to achieve my dream of attending college. At the moment, I do not know what college I would like to attend. I do have the intention to major in biology, as I would like to become an ophthalmologist. This would not be possible without their generosity. Thank you for making my dream a reality,” Rueda-Marshall told those in attendance.

Davies then presented the foundation’s annual Positive Impacts Awards. The first award was the foundation’s 2017 Senior Citizen of the Year Award, which was presented to Marie Caminti. At 90, Caminti still has the time and energy to volunteer at the Martha Washington Senior Apartments. She regaled the crowd with her rendition of ‘Skidermarink’, a popular pre-school song from her youth. After she completed the song, which was originally written for a 1910 Broadway play, there was loud applause.

After the presentation to Caminti, Gene Schulter presented the foundation’s Community Service/Business Award to Betty Baur Crescenzi and Frank Crescenzi. The pair spent decades operating Lakeview Realty at 2004 W. Addison Street.

“Throughout my years as alderman, Betty and Frank attended many meetings. We didn’t always agree on everything. They have a legacy of giving back to the community. Therefore, Rose and I are very pleased to present to Betty and Frank the Business and Community Service Award tonight,” Schulter said.

At the podium, Betty Bauer revealed her family was retiring from the real estate business. For her, the moment was bittersweet. She described how she had spent 46 years working at the Lakeview Realty and added her family had been in the real-estate business for nearly 97 years.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of this neighborhood. You give to it and it gives back to you. It is a wonderful family. To think of leaving a community, of leaving Chicago, we have had those thoughts. But, would we go somewhere? I could not imagine missing out on events like this one. To see so many wonderful friends, maybe once a year [is special], is wonderful. So many have helped grow the community. I have been privileged to be a part of it. It is really a family. We are so fortunate to live where we live. Thank you, Gene and Rose, for this wonderful honor,” Bauer said.

After Bauer’s remarks, Gene Schulter used the opportunity to describe how Betty Baur Crescenzi and Frank Crescenzi have exemplified how individuals, and businesses, can truly make a long-term positive impact on a community.

This year’s Positive Impacts Community Service Award was presented by Gene Schulter to Maria and Frank Bappert of the Ravenswood Kiwanis Club.

“Through all your work, both at the Greek Star newspaper and with the Ravenswood Kiwanis organization, Maria and Frank have provided an excellent example of providing leadership to youth in our community and also co-sponsoring the picnic at Bethany Hospital. Rose and I would like to say thank-you two, and to give you our community service award as well,” Schulter said.

Upon acceptance of the award, Maria Bappert spoke about her lengthy career at the Greek Star and the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce. She noted about how the neighborhood has changed dramatically. Decades ago, Lincoln Square was the epicenter of German-American restaurants and stores in the Chicagoland area. Today, many of those businesses have closed and have been replaced by non-German-American ones.

“I am very glad to be involved with the Kiwanis Club of Ravenswood, and with the Gene and Rosemary Foundation, over the scholarships and its support of the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club. The best way to court the people who are next in line for leadership is to support their education. So, thank you very much, Gene and Rosemary” Bappert said.

In response to Bappert’s remarks, Schulter said he has been very proud to have been associated with Frank and Maria Bappert for the past few decades.

“You have done a great job for the community. Therefore, the Gene and Rosemary Foundation would like to honor you, Maria and Frank, with this award. Thank you very much for your service!” Schulter said.

Listed below are the names of those awarded scholarships and the schools they currently attend.

  • Lane Tech College Prep
    Maya Hernandez
    Julia Friedman
  • Lake View High School
    Jaroslaw Kawa
  • Ravenswood Elementary School
    Taylor Mack-Nelson
  • Bell Elementary School
    Lian Malas
  • Coonley Elementary School
    Shane Huey
  • St. Matthias Elementary School
    Daniel Cardona
  • With support from Wintrust Bank
    Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School
    Trella Marinelli

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