Beacon Academy announces $500,000 pledge for new Robert Crown Center

Beacon Academy Announces $500,000 Pledge for New Robert Crown Center

School Also Commits to Multiyear Space Rental Agreement with City

EVANSTON, IL – (January 8, 2018) – The Friends of the Robert Crown Center have secured a transformative $500,000 capital commitment from Beacon Academy in support of the new Robert Crown Community Center, Ice Complex, Turf Fields, and Library.

Beacon’s sponsorship-level gift represents a strong statement of civic and community support by the independent Evanston-based Montessori high school. The gift will be spread over seven years, and will be recognized with prominent signage inside the new facility’s gymnasium.

In addition to their capital pledge, Beacon has also committed to supporting the new Crown Center by renting significant portions of athletic and community space time slots over the building’s first five years, with the intention to then renew for a second five years. The school will also use the new facility and park for students to participate in community engagement activities and public service projects.      

“Beacon Academy is proud to be a part of Evanston and proud to fully participate in Evanston community life,” said Head of School Jeff Bell. “This is a visionary project that will benefit all Evanstonians for generations, and we are excited to stand with the City and Library to support area families and strengthen our community.”

As a stipulation of their gift and rental agreements, Beacon’s leadership team required assurances that no other community groups or organizations which currently use the Crown Center would see their access or usage hours decreased in the new building as a result of Beacon’s usage. According to Lawrence Hemingway, Director of the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Public Services, the new facility’s increased capacity and improved features will enable the City to meet this requirement, adding Beacon Academy to the programming schedule while still fully accommodating all other user groups.

Friends Board Treasurer Dr. Raju Ghate praised the school’s leadership and stressed the inspirational effect of their participation. “We are so incredibly grateful for Beacon’s generosity. It’s landmark gifts like this that have helped propel the new Crown from a dream to a reality. This kind of giving inspires other donors at all levels. Families see these respected pillar organizations all coming together in support of a single cause, and they realize that this thing is really going to happen. We’re going to do this. All of us together, as one community.”

Beacon’s investment provides the latest evidence of the increasing momentum of the Crown project and the fundraising campaign supporting it. After establishing and far surpassing an early fundraising goal of $3 to $5 million, the Friends have raised more than $10.3 million, with an aim toward a new stretch goal of $15 million.

Friends of the Robert Crown Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization founded in 2016 to spearhead community fundraising efforts for the construction of a new Robert Crown Community Center, working in partnership with the City of Evanston, the Evanston Public Library, and many local athletic and community groups.

Beacon Academy is an independent school serving grades 9-12 with a curriculum based in Montessori principles and culminating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Beacon students experience a learning community that inspires self-motivation and personal challenge and celebrates intellectual and cultural diversity. The school occupies 22,000 square feet in the Rotary Building in downtown Evanston. For more information, visit