June 13, 2022

Last November, IBCF launched the creation of the Toula Oberlies Creative Arts Fund (TOCAF), an endowed fund named after long-time IBCF Board Member, Toula Oberlies. Supporters from around the world helped IBCF reach a 6-month fundraising goal, enabling a first-year grant distribution which was generously matched by Jeffrey and Cassandra Short.

In early May, ISBVI teachers were invited to dream big and to submit grant proposals requesting funding from TOCAF to support unique creative opportunities benefiting their students on or off campus. The applications were reviewed by the TOCAF grants review committee in mid-May, and the inaugural TOCAF award was presented by Toula Oberlies on May 25th in front of a school assembly made up of ISBVI students and staff.

As Toula shared from the podium, "This was no easy decision, each of the applicants showed great passion and dreamt up some amazing opportunities." It was a difficult decision that required hours of conversation and review. However, we are happy to announce the 2022 Toula Oberlies Creative Arts Fund award of $9000 will support Bright Lights, Big City, Chicago Extravaganza, a collaborative experience imagined by ISBVI Teachers, Janelle Pivec and Josh Baxter.

The TOCAF grant will enable Ms. Pivec and Mr. Baxter to take 15 high school students from the newly created ISBVI theatre program that launches this fall for an overnight/two-day Chicago Extravaganza this November to:

  • The Second City Chicago, the world's premier comedy club, comedy theater, and school of improvisation, for a half-day improvisational workshop. 
  • An accessible evening performance of Broadway Chicago’s Lion King where students will not only experience a world class Broadway show but will engage with actors following the performance through a Q and A.  
  • A tour and theater/film demonstration with faculty and staff at DePaul University.  
  • Additionally, funds will support film equipment and a theatre prop kit that the theatre class will use throughout the year to make films and create a performance of their own.  

IBCF will be working alongside Ms. Pivec and Mr. Baxter to support and document this experience. Stay tuned for more exciting news stories to come!              

Thank you to all the Toula Oberlies Creative Arts Fund applicants and supporters! Special thanks to the Crosser Family Foundation- a fund of the Hamilton County Community Foundation, Richard W. Averill Foundation, Janet C. Hohnholt, the John and Shirley Woerhle Fund- a fund of the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana, Jeffrey and Cassandra Short, Pete and Anne Schroth, and Don and Tricia Stogsdill. We are thankful to the TOCAF grants review committee and IBCF finance committee for all their efforts to bring the TOCAF fund and award to life: Toula Oberlies, Nick Oberlies, Sara Oberlies Brown, Jim Durst- ISBVI Superintendent, and IBCF Board Members- Becca Hopson, Kristina Davis, Kathy Nimmer, David Thomas, Michael Parent, Amanda Black, and Chris Munoz.



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