Hillel Day School Launches Fundraising Campaign for Outdoor Sports Facilities

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Renderings of the track. (Courtesy of Hillel)

The goal has been set to raise $3 million by September 1.

HThe illel day school has launched an “Open Space, Open Minds” sports capital campaign to help fund the expansion and improvement of Hillel’s outdoor sports facilities.

Currently, Hillel lacks a quality area that students can use year-round and after inclement weather, said Amy Schlussel, Hillel’s Director of Advancement – Admission & Giving. The current terrain is also uneven, and Hillel students need a safe playing surface for athletes of all ages.

The project includes replacing the current grass with synthetic turf and expanding the size of the current pitch to accommodate 11-on-11 soccer games. The all-weather pitch will be 107 meters long and 72 meters wide, large enough to accommodate Hillel sports teams, yet flexible enough to accommodate youth sports teams. These upgrades will improve security, expand usage, improve competitiveness and engage community usage. The field will be multipurpose, meaning it will be able to accommodate soccer, lacrosse, football and field hockey, to name a few. The field will be funded by the Sue family and Alan Jay Kaufman.

Another major feature of the campaign will be the addition of two multipurpose fields. These courts will allow students to play basketball, volleyball, pickleball, floor hockey, four squares and other gross motor sports. These multipurpose courts will be financed by Lori and Maurice Pogoda.

Kaufman Family Athletic Field
Kaufman Family Athletic Field Courtesy of Hillel

“It will be fenced in so that our younger learners can also play in front without worrying about the ball or the kids getting into the parking lot,” Schlussel said.

A major feature of the campaign is the installation of a new track. Currently, Hillel does not have a standard athletics track. When completed, Hillel will have a two-lane track surrounding the athletic field.

The Little Red School, a historical landmark, is synonymous with Hillel Day School, which once housed kindergarten. After a recent flood, the school remained inactive. The sports campaign includes the plan to convert the Little Red Schoolhouse into a sports support and activity centre. The kitchen and bathrooms will be updated to allow for student-led concessions and spirits apparel sales and also to serve as a renovated meeting place for students, parents and staff.

Kaufman Family Athletic Field
Kaufman Family Athletic Field Courtesy of Hillel

A goal has been set to raise $3 million by September 1. All donations will be matched by the Kaufman family. The campaign went public on June 1 and has already raised $2 million.

Schlussel thinks the project is a game-changer and something that has been on the minds of school leaders for some time.

“Since 2014, we have renovated every inch of the school’s interior to make it a 21st century learning tool with our vision to be innovative and creative; the exterior should be the same,” Schlussel said.

“With the pandemic, we have seen how important it is for children to be outdoors and active and the benefits this has for mental health,” she added. “Our slogan is, ‘Mind and Soul. Better Together’, and that’s why the sports campaign is ‘Open Space, Open Minds’. We want kids to be outdoors a lot more and have a usable space.

Hillel invites the community to make a meaningful donation at any giving level, with many naming opportunities and all donors recognized at an outdoor donor setup. To donate, visit www.hillelday.org/giving/open-space-open-minds-athletic-capital-campaign or contact Amy Schlussel at (248) 539-1484.

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