Sycamore Orchestra Endowment Fund to support Sycamore School District 427 students

Amy and Ken Tonaki create the Sycamore Orchestra Endowment Fund to spread the love of orchestra to families, youth, and the community

SYCAMORE – The newly created Sycamore Orchestra Endowment Fund will help support the needs of Sycamore School District 427′s orchestra program, according to a news release from the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

Orchestra teachers Ken Tonaki and Amy Tonaki created the fund to align with their desire for quality student experience and education.

Support from the fund benefits various functions, including but not limited to guest clinician honorariums; music event field trips; and the purchase of school instruments, technology, music and supplies.

“It is unique for a city the size of Sycamore to have a public school orchestra program,” Amy Tonaki said in a news release. “Over the years, the program has become a part of several community traditions. In addition, students have performed at weddings, retirement homes and many private functions.

“My husband Ken and I want to see this program grow and continue to impact youth positively.”

Ken Tonaki was born and raised in Lombard. He earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Northern Illinois University. He also taught his whole career in Sycamore and is starting his 28th year in the district, according to a news release.

Amy Tonaki was born in Danville and raised in Libertyville. Her father was her high school orchestra teacher. After high school, Amy earned her undergrad degree in music education at Augustana College and her master’s degree at NIU. She taught her whole career in Sycamore and is starting her 19th year in the district.

Ken and Amy Tonaki have interwoven their lives into the Sycamore community not only as teachers but also as residents raising a family in Sycamore. Their education philosophy is to create a safe and nurturing environment for orchestra students and to spread the love of orchestral music to the youth, their families and the community.

“We are excited to partner with the Tonakis in creating an endowment that will provide supplemental financial support to the Sycamore school district’s orchestra program for decades to come,” foundation Executive Director Dan Templin said in the release. “Additional donors that can help grow this fund include orchestral music lovers in DeKalb County, families of students who have been positively influenced by the Sycamore orchestra program, and alumni whose lives have been forever enriched by the program faculty as well as making music together with their peers.”

Donations to any fund at the DCCF, including the Sycamore Orchestra Endowment Fund, can be made online at or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, IL 60178.

For questions or to discuss setting up a fund that aligns with your charitable interests, contact Templin at 815-748-5383 or

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