Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation Makes Grant Possible

Ann Cluxton, teacher and club advisor at Metea Valley High School, with Elevate: Educate and Empower club student board members, Jadyn Enas (right) and Madelyn Schotz (left)

AURORA, IL, USA, October 6, 2021. “We really enjoy getting behind programs that help women and girls of all ages, races, ethnicities, and income levels feel respected and valued, and are nurtured to achieve their fullest potential,” said Amy Baudouin, Board Chair, Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF). “The two programs we just funded through a grant to Indian Prairie Educational Foundation (IPEF)—Elevate: Educate and Empower and The Valley Runway—each make a unique contribution to the empowerment of females in Aurora.”

Elevate: Educate and Empower is a new empowerment club for the young women at Metea Valley High School. The Club meets bi-weekly to discuss topics related to personal development as well as health, exercise, and hygiene. Each month guest speakers from the community provide the girls encouragement along with strategies and tools for a strong and healthy future. Additionally, club members plan a day-long women’s empowerment event slated for spring of 2022. The grant from AWEF will help fund program expenses for materials and speakers, as well as the culminating spring event.

“This program is perfectly aligned to the mission of the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation,” said Ann Cluxton, teacher and club advisor at Metea Valley High School. “It helps us establish an equal field of access to all young women at Metea Valley to gain strategies, bonds, friendships, and purpose.”

Ann is also the co-founder and teacher advisor for The Valley Runway program, which began in 2016. The program was initiated to ensure that all high school students in District 204 have the same opportunity to attend prom—a rite-of-passage experience that is not financially feasible for all. Said Ann, “Of the nearly 11,000 high school students in our district, 21% qualify for free or reduced lunch. There is no way these families can afford the staggering cost of prom.”

Through The Valley Runway program, students who can benefit from the program receive free formal gowns and accessories (that the students keep), as well as free prom tickets. The program helps battle inequity and exclusion by providing access and support to some of the district’s neediest students. The grant from AWEF helps fund the purchase of hard-to-fit sizes (that are not donated through the program’s yearly collection) as well as shoes, jewelry, purses, and a limited number of tuxedo rentals for of-need young men.

Elisha Johnson

“The Indian Prairie Educational Foundation is proud to support The Valley Runway and Elevate programs and appreciates the dedication and commitment of teacher and club advisor Ann Cluxton,” said Elisha Johnson, Executive Director at IPEF. “We’re incredibly grateful for the partnership with the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation and their generous donation to the programs which will provide a wonderful opportunity to the young women of IPSD204.”

Those interested in learning more about the Elevate: Educate and Empower and The Valley Runway programs can contact Ann Cluxton at ann Also, check out these videos to see the impact of The Valley Runway and Elevate programs for yourself!


The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation mission is to elevate and empower Aurora-area women and future women by making grants to tax-exempt nonprofits engaged in meaningful, measurable work that helps women over the hurdles of inequity and exclusion, propelling them forward with life-changing programs and services.  For more information about grants made by AWEF, including our grant guidelines and online application, visit

In partnership with Indian Prairie School District 204, the fourth largest school district in Illinois, the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation (IPEF) enriches education for students by supporting their academic, artistic, emotional, and physical needs. IPEF is able to accomplish its goals thanks to generous support from parents, district staff members, and community and corporate partners.

They also receive funding through grants from civic, educational, and philanthropic foundations who share our commitment to the success of today’s students. While Indian Prairie Trail is committed to academic excellence, it is just as committed to inclusion. It serves a very diverse community, in both racial/cultural and economic terms, and devotes significant resources to ensure its lesser-advantaged students succeed socially, emotionally, and academically.