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Private School in One of Michigan’s Poorest Cities Looks Past the Ashes of Its Town’s 2003 Riots to Raise Money on the Web


BENTON HARBOR, Mich., March 30, 2005 -- Holding a car raffle in a poor community isn’t always the best recipe for success. Brookview School International Montessori Academy ( decided to go global to raise money for its diversity-based school. In order to find potential donors from a more wealthy population base that also wants to support multi-cultural education, Brookview set up to raffle off a two-year lease on a 2005 Jaguar S-Type ( or $15,000 cash. All proceeds will go toward expanding the curriculum at Brookview, a ten-acre wooded haven in the middle of poverty-stricken Benton Harbor.

The scene of intense, violent rioting only two years ago, Benton Harbor has long struggled with high jobless rates, low wages and a disproportionate amount of substandard housing. But Brookview School, established in 1975, has remained committed to providing a high quality, comprehensive Montessori education to the children of Benton Harbor, a town of just over 11,000 and the neighboring Southwest Michigan community. The school campus now houses a 22,000-square-foot school building with facilities for infants through eighth graders, a science lab, a 5,000-book library, pottery kiln, a KitchenAid(TM) Test Kitchen, and art and photography areas, with numerous observation and play areas outside.

Sponsored by Benton Harbor-based radio station 94.9 The Coast, St. Joseph’s and Kalamzoo’s Denooyer Jaguar, the non-profit raffle is an unconventional way to raise money - and, organizers hope, an effective one. Tickets are $30 each or four for $100 and can be purchased at or by calling Brookview School at 269-925-3544. The drawing will be held at 4:00 p.m. EST May 31, 2005, at the school; the winner will receive his or her choice of $15,000 cash or a two-year lease on a fully loaded new Jaguar with a sticker price of over $44,000.

“For all its difficulties, Benton Harbor is a town with a real sense of community and hope for the future,” stated Peter J. Marr, president of “Brookview School is a big part of that future, thanks to the quality education it provides. We are pleased to contribute to Brookview’s efforts to expand its educational offerings.”


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