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Neighbors of Kane County


Nov 28, 2016 10:29AM ● By Anita Malik

The Chicago Steel and FONA International Tuesday celebrated the success of a recent fundraiser which raised over $4,800 for the Geneva Academic Foundation (“GAF”).

As part of a Nov. 11 home victory against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, the Steel hosted Excellence On Ice: A Benefit for Geneva School District 304 and the Geneva Academic Foundation presented by FONA International. The Steel wore special Geneva Vikings-themed jerseys during warm-ups. The jerseys were auctioned off, as were items such as a team-autographed stick, suite for 15 to an upcoming game, and a variety of gift baskets, with all proceeds benefiting the GAF. A portion of ticket sales raised additional funds for the GAF.

The Excellence On Ice game was presented by FONA International, a Geneva-based flavor company which actively promotes science education in the community through its “Discover FONA” program, teaching students about food and flavor science.

“The event was a big success,” said Jeff Vekony, GAF Board Member. “Over $4,800 was raised to help fund grants and scholarships for the schools and students of Geneva School District 304, and many families attended who had never been to a hockey game at the Fox Valley Ice Arena and said they had a lot of fun and look forward to coming back for more Steel games in the future. We look forward to working with the Steel and FONA on future such events.”

Vekony and Steel President Dan Lehv, along with Steel mascot Rusty, visited FONA International to present CEO Joe Slawek with one of the Geneva Vikings-themed jerseys to celebrate the success of the partnership and FONA’s participation as title sponsor of the event.

“It was a special night,” said Lehv. “To see our fans come together to support the Geneva Schools, and with current Geneva High School student, Graham Lillibridge, scoring the game-winning goal, the event was a success both on and off the ice."

The Steel have worked closely with the GAF since the team’s arrival in Geneva last season, including promoting Teacher Appreciation Night on April 8, 2016 which included a check donation from the Steel to the GAF that went towards scholarships for two Geneva High School graduating seniors.

For tickets or more information, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office or visit


The Chicago Steel are competing in their 17th season in the USHL and their second season playing at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, IL. Steel players are recruited from across the country and internationally, and are assigned a host family and advisor to arrange housing and education options while with the organization. Education and development as a player and individual is key to the Steel's success and has earned 185 players Division I scholarships, as well as 27 NHL Draft picks. Players, coaches, and the team mascot Rusty, visit local schools and nonprofits to pass along their message of character, education, and teaching how to Live Strong as Steel. The Steel focuses on providing family-friendly entertainment to the Fox Valley at affordable pricing. Visit for more information, and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @ChicagoSteel.


Geneva Academic Foundation strives to provide students new educational experiences, ideas, and opportunities by funding grants for technology, services, programs and equipment for teachers, schools and classrooms throughout Geneva Community School District 304, grades K through 12. GAF has awarded over $1,300,000 in grants since its founding in 1987. Grants have been given for GTV television studio equipment in Geneva High School, heart-rate monitors for elementary school physical education classes, multiple classroom Smartboards and standing desks, computers, software, document cameras, Starlab, microscopes, skeletons, books, reading aids, and many other items. In addition, the GAF annually funds two college scholarships for two Geneva High School seniors. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit and an essay written by the student.


Founded in 1987, FONA International creates and produces flavors for many of the largest food, beverage, and nutritional companies in the world. It offers flavor solutions for the confection, grain, beverage, performance nutrition, OTC and emerging markets from its state-of-the-art, 33-acre campus in Geneva, IL. FONA’s seven core values drive it to pursue excellence and foster incredible partnerships. More than just great flavors — FONA provides complete market solutions.