The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Educational Foundation Grants
Most public school districts benefit from the support and philanthropy of an Education Foundation. Though every Education Foundation is slightly different in mission and purpose, they have general similarities such as fundraising, advocacy, community building and giving grants and scholarships. These organizations play a vital role in public education: think of it as ‘friend-raising’ not just fundraising.
Foundations often use their financial and educational support to provide ongoing training for teachers and staff, or within the community at large. This strengthens educational delivery while enhancing professionalism and often engages the local community in the programming. Some foundations have established Speakers Bureau’s or Speaker Series to complement on-going staff development training on topics that are pertinent to communities and school districts.
As a Board Member for the Academy School District 20 Education Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colo., I am part of a Foundation that raises funds throughout the year to provide teacher grants and student scholarships.
The Holiday season is the perfect time of year to give back to our hardworking teachers. I recently delivered grants at Discovery Canyon High School. As I entered one teacher’s room, she jumped up and screamed "I won!!!!" as she grabbed me in a big hug! She knew before I could even say a word why I was in her classroom. This teacher received $1920 to purchase equipment to support the Recombinant DNA Lab and related projects. Her students were clapping and beaming in support as I presented the grant.
In addition to classroom grants, the Academy School District 20 Education Foundation provides scholarships annually to graduating seniors and other special requests. Last year the Foundation provided backpacks and school supplies for students affected by the Black Forest Fire and raised funds to build a new playfield that was damaged in the fire. This year the Foundation offered $3,000 in scholarships to students participating in an Educational Exchange trip to China. These funds were distributed amongst several students to help defray the cost of their travel, lodging and materials.
For me personally, the ability to serve my community in this way is so rewarding and the opportunity to provide grants to teachers this time of year is especially heartwarming. I encourage you to take advantage of the season for giving and thank a teacher today.