LINCOLN SQUARE — Former Ald. Gene Schulter served the 47th Ward for 36 years and aims to encourage that same spirit of community involvement in young people by providing scholarships to students who have demonstrated the "art of giving back," he said.
The Gene and Rosemary Schulter Foundation, named for the alderman and his wife, recently announced the recipients of its 2014 scholarships: Daniele Anderson, Lake View High School; Jordan Ginsburg and Harper Albo, Lane Tech College Prep High School; Anna Tai Malone, St. Benedict High School; Leah Healy, Bell Elementary; Laura Krahn, Coonley Elementary; Alejandro Ramirez, Ravenswood Elementary; and Solina Garcia, St. Benedict Elementary.
Patty Wetli discusses Gene Schulter's role since his 2011 retirement on DNAinfo Radio:
Each high school student receives $1,000 to be used toward college expenses; elementary students receive $250 each.
Whether it's shoveling snow for seniors or cleaning up a park, scholarship applicants are all required to demonstrate their participation in the community.
"We're looking for young men and women that are giving back to society," Schulter said.
In addition to the scholarships, the foundation also announced its sponsorship of Welles Park's summer concert series, picking up the tab for three of the weekly outings.
Economic development is another area of focus for the foundation: It supports local businesses by highlighting their efforts in a monthly newsletter emailed to 14,000 subscribers.
The foundation also promotes senior safety through a variety of programs. A recent seminar alerted seniors to a variety of financial scams that specifically target the elderly.
"I wish more of my colleagues would be doing what I'm doing," said Schulter, who began setting up his foundation in advance of his 2011 retirement from City Council.
Though he said he and Rosemary have enjoyed "sitting back" and taking advantage of institutions "we helped build" — including Sulzer Library and the Old Town School of Folk Music — Schulter also remains committed to the concept of public service.
"While I don't miss the calls for potholes, we do get calls we can use the foundation for," he said. "You should continue giving back as long as you can, and that's what we're doing."