If ever education needed a good friend, this is the time.
That’s why the local school district is so grateful to the USD 428 Education Foundation, its long-time philanthropic fund-raising arm. The foundation has been around since 1989 and has raised and donated well over a quarter of a million dollars to Great Bend public schools.
“We are indebted to this hard-working group of individuals who make good things happen in our schools,” said Superintendent Brad Reed.
Just this spring, the Foundation awarded nearly $30,000 in minigrants, including more than $9,000 to help fund the One District, One Book reading initiative that will be launched community wide on Sept. 21.
Twenty-seven other deserving innovative educational activities were also funded. These include pilot exploratory courses, enhanced curriculum materials, updated library resources and incentive grants to benefit students K-12.
“Minigrants help supplement the district’s curricular goals and objectives and for endeavors that have no other source of funding,” Reed said.
The Education Foundation has also agreed to fund about $8,000 in technology updates throughout the district. The committee also provided plaques for the upper 10 percent of Great Bend High School seniors.
Additionally, the Foundation is also underwriting the fee to bring in Monte Selby, a nationally recognized motivational speaker, for the back-to-school kickoff for the district’s 700 employees on Aug. 13.
Funds to support the Education Foundation come from a variety of sources, Reed said. The biggest fund raiser is the annual dinner and auction held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This year the event will be on Nov. 24 and plans are already being made to make it bigger and better than ever.
Revenue also comes from memorials and donations.
“The foundation gratefully receives tax-deductible contributions from individuals, businesses, community service organizations, alumni, estates, memorials and other benevolent sources,” Reed said.
Community members and USD 428 staff who serve on the Education Foundation include Matt Hiss, president; Tricia Reiser, vice president; Paul Snapp, treasurer; Brenda McCulley, teacher member; Doug Bender, board of education member; and MelEesa Stueder and Craig Neeland, both community members.