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While perusing the popular website www.craigslist.org, Portia Belloc Lowndes came upon a posting that inspired her to get involved at a Chicago elementary school. The anonymous posting asked people to donate art supplies like carpet scraps and old magazines.

Portia e-mailed the poster and received a message back from Jill Beers, the art teacher at Henry Nash Elementary School. Nash Elementary is located in a tough neighborhood on Chicago's west side. Many of the students enrolled at this school are considered "at risk."

For the past 15 years, the school hasn't had the funds to support an art program, but Jill has helped bring art back to Nash this year. When Portia learned about Jill's struggle to get adequate supplies, she went to work.

Portia called friends at Chicago advertising agencies, design firms and art galleries to solicit donations. "One person's trash is another person's treasure!" she says.

Then, Portia contacted the principal at Nash Elementary to orchestrate a special surprise for Jill. The principal called an all-school assembly where Portia presented Jill with the donated supplies and a check for $1,000, which will be used to purchase additional art materials.

Although the money's all gone, Portia says she plans to return to Nash to help organize a school-wide art show.


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