Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation

Our Mission is to provide funding for all areas of academic excellence in Forest Hills Public Schools.

We have one simple goal: to help continue a tradition of excellence. Established in 1986 as a community based, non-profit organization, the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation raises funds for a variety of academic needs in the district. Knowing we can no longer rely solely on state funding to maintain our high academic standards, our role has become increasingly vital. We are here to respond to the growing needs of Forest Hills Public Schools, now and in the future.

Jana Siminski

Director of Philanthropy

Phone: (616) 493-8954Email: [email protected]

2018 - 2019 Disbursements

Individual Teacher Grants support the promotion of academic and arts excellence through programs or activities related to curriculum. These grants focus on opportunities and experiences for students. For the 2018-2019 school year, $116,000 were distributed.

The Support Our School Initiative at the Gala provides the Forest Hills community an opportunity to support their schools by giving directly to the schools(s) of their choice to fund specific needs identified by the principals at each school.

At the 2018 Gala - $128,088 was raised.

2018 SOS Grants

Next Level Grants are another source for administrators in their quest to implement programs outlined in the district's new model of education.

Next Level Grants

The Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation, in conjunction with each high school, awards scholarships to students based on educational and/or extracurricular achievements. The following were awarded for the 2018-2019 school year.

View Scholarships

The Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation distributed $240,000 during the 2018-2019 school year.

Superintendent’s Circle & Foundation Sponsors

It is community support that makes it possible to distribute funds to the fabulous FHPS educators. This support has a tremendous impact on classrooms across the district. These funds allow for innovative, creative programs that inspire our students to new levels of success! There are many ways to support academic excellence in Forest Hills. Thank you to all who generously give so our students can analyze, engage, communicate, collaborate, create and adapt!

The Superintendent’s Circle is the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation’s largest and most visible group of donors. Members receive Superintendent updates on the district, Foundation newsletters, and invitations to special Foundation events and activities.

The Superintendent’s Circle is recognized annually for gifts the previous year. 2020 Superintendent’s Circle list reflects 2019 giving.

Superintendent's Circle List

The following companies generously support the FHPS Foundation throughout the year. Thank you for your continued support.

Chairman's Message

Coming Soon From:
Chuck Cox
Chair, Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation

Board Profiles

If you are passionate about the Forest Hills Public Schools and would like to use your talent to help students achieve lifelong success, we invite you to volunteer for a board position. Please contact the Foundation office if you would like to learn more about our board.

Since returning to Grand Rapids after my fellowship I have witnessed the incredible growth of the city and of the Forest Hills Public Schools.

I have been active in various non-profit organizations, including serving as Board Chair for the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids. I understand the importance of a quality education and the opportunities it allows for personal and professional growth.

I am passionate about helping to grow the Foundation so that it can assist in enhancing the educational experience for all of our students. My wife and I have three children in the Spanish immersion program and I am excited to be able to help grow the foundation to help ensure Forest Hills remains a high quality school district.

Our schools and our community are focused on a common aim of doing what is best for children.

Throughout the history of our school district, our community and our staff have given their time, their talents, and their treasure to ensure that each child has what she or he needs to unlock their unique and limitless potential.

I value the Foundation as a means to bring creative, unique and ’out of the box‘ programs to our students. When I came to the district as Superintendent in 2006, I was and remain committed to doing what is best for our children. This means providing each and every child with the very best education possible.

I am excited and honored to be on the Forest Hills Foundation Board.

My husband and I have been involved with the Foundation for several years and my in-laws for over 30 years. All of our 4 children attend Forest Hills Eastern and we have been impressed at all levels as they have gone through the Forest Hills system.

I feel strongly that it is our responsibility, as a district, to give our children a solid educational base. My passion has been in developing children. I have been privileged to serve the Forest Hills Community with high quality, early childhood education at a school I own in Cascade. I am hoping to bring all my experiences and connections from my career to help further excellence in our school system.

Bio Coming Soon!

Catherine owned and operated her own law firm for seven years where she helped families plan for their future, provided elder law planning services in the areas of Medicaid qualification, and assisted clients with loved-ones with special needs in addition to her core trust and estate planning services. A well-respected advocate, Catherine still approaches her business the same way – with a deep understanding of clients’ needs and a plan for their future and beyond.

She regularly speaks on topics of estate and succession planning, elder law and special needs care all over the state of Michigan for associations, foundations and universities. Catherine also devotes numerous hours and resources to serving on community boards and committees for Elder Law of Michigan, Ada Township, Senior Neighbors Grand Rapids, Caregiver Resource Network, the Council on Aging and Forest Hills Community Foundation.

Bio Coming Soon!

As a graduate of Forest Hills Central High School, I was very fortunate to acquire an outstanding education, develop meaningful relationships, but most of all, cultivate the joy of learning from an early start. My husband and I are thrilled to provide our children with the same opportunities, as they gain the many benefits of a Forest Hills Public Schools education.

By providing our children with a strong start, we are laying a solid foundation to support their life long learning. The resources that the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation provides are instrumental in the success of all students, from the beginning up until graduation. As a former high school teacher, I understand the need to engage our community with our schools, so that we can assist in funding the exceptional educational opportunities. I look forward to working with our community, school district and the foundation board!

My family and I have been a part of the Forest Hills community for over 15 years.

We have a college student who is a FHPS graduate and two current Eastern High School students.

Although I have been involved with the Foundation for a number of years, I look forward to building community awareness about the financial support it provides to our schools, allowing for educational enrichment that would otherwise be cut due to decreased state funding.

The health of a community is inseparable from the quality of its local public schools. I believe having a safe, inclusive, high quality environment where all our kids can grow and excel is essential. Thriving schools make for happy families and those families are able to contribute even more to their communities. We are lucky to already have a fantastic school system in Forest Hills. My two girls are in school here and I see the benefits of FHPS every single day.

I also know that such excellence doesn’t happen by itself. Maintaining a high standard of education and evolving to meet the needs of our changing world requires ongoing commitment, dedication and enthusiasm generation to generation. I am excited and honored to be part of this generation’s efforts to make the Forest Hills school system the very best it can be and to help provide the extra support our teachers need to continue to innovate creative new programs.

As the oldest of six children, I grew up in East Michigan and am a product of a public school education. I graduated with a BBA from the University of Michigan and earned my law degree from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law. My family and I moved to the Forest Hills Public School District area in 2011. Actively involved within the district, I see my role on the foundation as a way to give back to our community. The Foundation spearheads amazing events and initiatives to provide aid for all areas of academic excellence including literacy, arts, technology and much more. I eagerly join this passionate group of people to support educators as they continue to develop new and innovative ways to engage their students.

I believe in the POWER OF COMMUNITY and look forward to strengthening existing relations while building newer ones in my efforts to serve our district and to always make my family proud. This work brings me great joy and I am grateful for the opportunity.

I serve the Forest Hills community in my role as Principal of Northern Hills Middle School. Previous to this appointment, I served as Principal of Central Woodlands for 4 years. My passion has been in empathy-based hacking towards Deeper Learning in schools using Project Based Learning. In addition, I have been working with schools to create cultures of thinking based on the work of Dr. Ron Ritchhart from Harvard’s Project Zero. I received my Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University with a research focus on teacher learning in informal and formal settings. Alongside my role in Forest Hills, I have been fortunate to serve principals across Michigan as the Co-State and Federal Relations Coordinator for the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. Through this role, I have been able to share the wonderful stories of our schools with elected officials in Lansing and Washington, D.C.

The Foundation has been instrumental in supporting our schools with the needed funding for innovation. I am honored to join the Board of Trustees to continue to support the partnership with our schools. Besides seeing the vital role the Foundation plays in my role as principal, I have also seen the impact as a husband and father. My wife, Renae, is a proud teacher at Forest Hills Northern High School and my children attend elementary school at both Central Woodlands and Pine Ridge.

Today’s environment pertaining to student growth and development is rapidly changing and great ideas to innovate and attain higher levels of excellence are identified every day in and around our classrooms. I am extremely proud and impressed by the FHPSF’s strategy to identify and provide funding that assists teachers in their classrooms. It's truly amazing what teachers can accomplish with the requests supported by the foundation! With three children currently attending Forest Hills schools, I want to help the district in their ability to implement innovative ideas and hands on student learning experiences.

By being a part of the foundation, I will work with the community to help generate funding sources for the district to continue to innovate learning and help the next generation of learners achieve higher levels of success.

Eighteen years ago when I moved to Grand Rapids, I was looking for a place to purchase a home and was attracted to the Forest Hills area because of the quality school system.

Over that time, state funding has decreased dramatically. By being part of the Foundation, I see this as an opportunity to work with the community to help ease the financial burdens placed upon this district.

I have two children in the district and I want the best for them and for all Forest Hills students and staff members.

My husband and I are so proud to be a part of the Forest Hills School District. We moved here over ten years ago, so that our daughter would have access to a top-notch education. Through the Foundation, I am honored to take part in the uplifting and building of a community that believes in providing a high standard of education for its students. I have been involved with the school directly in many roles, including as President of the PTO for both Central Middle School and Central High School. It has been a true pleasure to connect with the amazing families of Forest Hills through this level of service. I will continue to be committed to these families as we spread the word about the important work of the Foundation and the roles that we can play to achieve excellence for our schools.

I am a proud product of the Forest Hills Public Schools. From my first day of kindergarten in 1984 to my last day of high school in 1997, I was surrounded by energetic, caring and motivating teachers every day.

I know how a great education in Forest Hills can lead to success later in life. Additionally, I am the son of a former Forest Hills teacher and have seen first-hand the amount of time and effort it takes to be an outstanding educator.

My kids are now students in the district. Their love of school and for their teachers is proof to me that excellence still reigns. Certainly, times have changed since I was a student.

The Foundation’s focus on funding innovative programs spoke to me. Supporting our teachers by giving them the financial support to try new and different teaching methods will ensure continuing excellence for our students for years, decades, to come.

Oversight

Annual Financial Year End Audit performed by Maner Costerisan PC.

Investment Funds Managed by Merrill Lynch.