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Pay It Forward Awards 2023




Foundation Announces 2023 Pay It Forward Award Recipients

Last year, the Morton 201 Foundation created the Pay It Forward Awards to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses who have supported and contributed to the promotion and advancement of the Foundation's mission and efforts.

Recipients of this award have repeatedly gone above and beyond to advocate, promote, donate, raise funds and increase awareness about the Foundation on an ongoing basis.

Awards are given annually in three categories:

  • Morton Family Member - student, alumni, faculty or staff member
  • Individual - any individual not directly associated with Morton District 201
  • Business or organization

The Morton 201 Foundation is proud to announce its 2023 Pay It Forward Award Recipients:

Morton Family Member

Morton East & Morton West Culinary Arts Instructors and Students


Morton East Culinary Arts Instructors Chef Yves Chambaz, Chef Jessica Herrera, and Chef Karl Benford and Morton West Culinary Arts Instructors Chef Courtney Bay, Chef Lindsey Ryan and Chef Mariana Valdez along with all of the Morton East and Morton West Culinary Arts students were selected as Pay It Forward Award recipients for their hard work, hospitality and dedication to making our Dinner & Theatre Night fundraisers such a success!

Since 2019, the Morton 201 Foundation has hosted five Dinner & Theatre Nights and has raised almost $29,400 for our Pay It Forward Scholarship Fund! These events continue to grow and improve each time as word spreads about our amazing Culinary Arts program and our incredibly talented students.

Our Dinner & Theatre Nights would not be as successful if it were not for their participation and enduring commitment to these events.

Morton Counselors Ryan Smith and Rosendo Arreguin

The tremendous success of our Pay It Forward Scholarship Program is the direct result of Counselors Ryan Smith (Morton East) and Rosendo Arreguin (Morton West). They have been incredible advocates for our scholarships and instrumental in helping to promote and encourage students to apply.

Thanks to their valiant efforts, the Foundation has received 141 applications and awarded 43 scholarships, totaling $72,000 since 2019.


Barbara Yeager

Thanks to her negotiating and advocacy, Barbara Yeager was able to successfully persuade an anonymous donor to contribute a total of $11,000 to the Foundation’s Pay It Forward Scholarship Fund, the single largest donation the Foundation has received to date!

Thanks to Barbara’s tremendous efforts, this generous gift will provide 5.5 scholarships for our students so that they may pursue their education.


Hector & Araceli Ramirez

Since 2019, Hector & Araceli Ramirez have supported the Morton 201 Foundation. As the owner of Gabriel Studio, Hector has provided backdrops and donated free keepsakes photos for our Wizard of Oz, Addams Family, and Spelling Bee Dinner & Theatre Nights, and Araceli has donated the beautiful centerpieces for our Singin’ in the Rain, Wizard of Oz and Spelling Bee Dinner & Theatre Nights. They also provided souvenir mugs for The Addams Family centerpieces as well as the Spelling Bee Walk-on Role Participants.

Their generous donations and continued support help to elevate our Dinner & Theater Nights to a higher level and provide a more memorable experience for all of our guests.



Maria Magnus-Toledo

As the owner of Lulu’s Cake & Sweets, Maria Magnus-Toledo has donated play-inspired cupcakes, cookies and treat boxes as raffle prizes to our last three Dinner & Theatre Nights: Wizard of Oz, Addams Family and Spelling Bee.

In addition, she has baked and donated approximately 450 Thank You sugar cookies to all of the culinary, theatre, tech, orchestra, music, mariachi and video students involved with these productions.

By donating these beautiful and delicious treats, Maria has helped to elevate our Dinner & Theatre Nights for our attendees and provided sweet rewards to show our appreciation to all of our students for their hard work and dedication to making our events such a success.



Business or Organization

Berwyn Development Corporation

Since 2021, the Berwyn Development Corporation has served as an Event Partner for our Support Local Online Auction.

During that time, the BDC:


  • Created a separate Foundation page on its website allowing us to promote our online auctions as well as post logos and links for all of our corporate sponsors on the page.
  • Promoted our event on their website and social media platforms.
  • Helped us recognize and promote all of our local donors and sponsors in print as well as online. 
  • Provided two half page ads in Berwyn Magazine: Nov 2021 issue (Promotional Ad) and Feb 2022 (Thank You ad). 
  • Sent out 6 emails to their 1,060 members, encouraging them to donate items and provide financial support to our auction. 

In addition to being an Event Partner, the BDC also supported our event financially by being a $1,000 Copper Sponsor in 2021 and 2022.

As we build on our Event Partnership for the third year in a row, the BDC continues to be a tremendous partner for the Morton 201 Foundation by helping us promote awareness about our mission and efforts among its members but also to the community as a whole through its Berwyn Magazine.

David Hulseberg, Executive Director/CEO, and Claudia Thornton, Chamber Manager, accepted the award on behalf of the Berwyn Development Corporation.


United Scrap Metal

United Scrap Metal is one of the Morton 201 Foundation’s oldest and longest supporters. In 2018, they donated several pairs of sports tickets to the Foundation which we raffled off to raise money for our first Pay It Forward Scholarships in 2019.  Since then, United Scrap Metal has continued to support our mission and efforts financially by being a $1,000 Copper Sponsor two years in a row, as well as purchasing tables of 8 for our Wizard of Oz and Spelling Bee Dinner & Theater Night fundraisers.

In addition, Catrina Roth, Senior Recycling Consultant, and Joseph Cuevas, General Manager at United Scrap Metal joined the Board in 2018. Their presence has helped to strengthen and build our relationship with United Scrap Metal.

United Scrap Metal truly believes in the Foundation’s mission and efforts and has been a tremendous partner for us from the beginning.

Martha Ramirez, Morton East, Class of 2006 Alum and Director of People Experience, accepted the award on behalf of United Scrap Metal.

2022 Pay It Forward Award Recipients