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#OurGivingSpirit: Friends of Adaire

Throughout the entirety of the Giving Season, The Spirit will be profiling local residents, business owners, movers and shakers who give back to neighborhood. Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their work in the community? Send us an email at news@spiritnews.org or reach out to us on social media using #OurGivingSpirit.


Alexander Adaire K-8, or simply Adaire, is a school located in Fishtown that has a parent-based organization called Friends of Adaire — a registered nonprofit consisting of parents, educators and community members whose mission is to enrich the education of Adaire students by providing additional resources and support for faculty and staff. While Adaire’s Home and School Association organizes the parents of students enrolled at the school, according to their website The Friends of Adaire seeks to engage households with or without kids, homeowners and renters, nonprofits and businesses, public and private sectors who are not yet plugged in to all things Adaire.

Neighborhood residents Kate Hughes, the President of Friends of Adaire, and Stefan Zajic, their Vice President, decided two years ago to use their spare time and energy on this 501(c)3 nonprofit to help the school. Having families with young children of their own, they wanted to be able to give back to their community and help people understand what a great school Adaire actually is, especially at a time when the Philadelphia Public School District is struggling to stay afloat.


“What we want is for the children at the school to have the best educational experience possible,” Hughes said.

friends of adaire

(L) Stefan Zajic, Vice President Friends of Adaire, and (R) Kate Hughes, the President of Friends of Adaire


Even more so, they also want to show the community how Adaire is becoming even better with the changes going on in and around the school.

The Friends of Adaire get all of their money through community fundraisers. Zajic says, “It is humbling and inspiring that people want to help.” According to the group’s website, this time last year, the organization successfully opened up a library for the school after a decade of being closed. Now it serves as more than just a school library — different programs that involve the community take place there, like Toddler Story Hour.

Their fundraisers are not just opportunities for Friends of Adaire to raise money, but to also bring the community together to help build up the school. They have scheduled days advertised on their website as a way to “beautify the school inside and out”.

“I think so much of it is that we’re up against the image that’s formed by the media and that is a really powerful image,” Hughes said.

Hughes and Zajic believe that once people enter Adaire, they will see how beautiful the school is, similar to their own personal experiences. “We want people to stay and for people to have faith in our school,” Zajic said.

Friends of Adaire recently started a new fundraiser to support the arts at the school called the Adaire Auditorium Fundraising Campaign. After one of month of receiving donations, the group is only $500 shy of being halfway to their goal of $12,000. If they can reach the goal by July 1, 2016, the Penn Treaty Special Service District has promised to match, raising a total of $24,000 toward funding the construction of a new auditorium.

“This one is so valuable because it can be both a community space and it is also such a multidimensional educational space,” Zajic said. The Adaire auditorium is outdated and not used as much as it could be. This campaign is the first step in renovating this space to be a beneficial place for everyone.   

Even with everything The Friends of Adaire have done, Hughes and Zajic do not take all of the credit — they thank the school’s principal, Anna Jenkins, for everything she has done in the past two years to get the school to where it is today.

Friends of Adaire appreciates the help they have received thus far and are always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in helping the process through fundraising, tutoring the students, or their scheduled clean-up days, you can check out their Facebook page.

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