Member News

Bartlesville Education Promise Provides Nearly $850,000 To Help Students Achieve

Bartlesville Education Promise, recognized as one of Oklahoma’s leading non-profit foundations in aiding education, has invested nearly $850,000 over the last seven years in helping local public school students become more successful.

The Bartlesville-based, citizen-led organization has worked closely with the public school system in developing extensive after-school tutoring and summer enrichment programs. Bartlesville Education Promise (BEP) has received awards from both Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 2017 and 19 and from the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits in 2021 for most outstanding school support organization.

Much of BEP’s financial support is directed toward improving reading skills in elementary schools and toward preparing middle and high school students for graduation and productive careers.  Although the COVID pandemic forced some efforts to be scaled back during the current school year, in the previous year, BEP programs benefitted approximately 3,100 students while providing part-time employment to about 140 teachers.

“Many of the BEP programs can help students make up for the lost ground that may have occurred in their education during the pandemic,” said Martin Garber, chairman of the BEP 12-member board. “For example, we’re supporting make-up classes at the high school, tutoring in preparation for PSAT testing, and after-school learning opportunities at both the Boys and Girls Club and Westside Community Center.”

For many years, BEP has been working with the Bartlesville School District to provide support of several summer programs. These include Transition Camps for 6th and 9th graders preparing for middle and high school, virtual tutoring for elementary students who are challenged to pass a state-mandated reading test, and a Leadership Camp for 3-5th graders taught by the district’s Gifted and Talented staff.

Funding for Bartlesville Education Promise since its founding in 2015 has come primarily from local citizens, corporations and foundations. Subsequently, it also has received grants from two statewide nonprofits ­–Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits – that have honored BEP undertakings.

“Since its inception, BEP has raised and provided well over three-quarters of a million dollars to help the students be more challenged and successful both in the classroom and during summer break,” Garber said. “Our donors have been gratified by the way the school district and teachers have embraced our goals.”

Garber noted that out of the total funds provided, about $450,000 has gone to in-school programs and $350,000 toward summer activities. He also noted that BEP has no paid staff, so its administrative costs are quite low compared to most nonprofits – amounting to about 7 percent of the total funds raised, which is less than half of the administrative costs for an average foundation.

More information about Bartlesville Education Promise is available here.

Canyon Crest Academy Foundation and the Creation of a Synchronistic Community

On December 5th, 2021, the Canyon Crest Academy Envision program presented a beautiful Afternoon of Art and music at the Athenaeum in La Jolla. The Envision Conservatory fundraiser, promoted and coordinated by the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation, included an auction of original student artwork and performances by Jazz Band, Chamber Orchestra and Vocal Music.

Many of the young artists’ subjects were of their favorite spots in the Del Mar/Carmel Valley/San Diego community. One painting in particular, of the recently opened Sky Deck located at the Del Mar Highlands, caught the eye of Pam Aguirre, Marketing Specialist for Sky Deck. Painted by CCA Sophomore Jasmine He, the location was chosen after watching the construction and final completion of the new culinary destination in June of 2021. Ms. Aguirre purchased the painting for her office. All of the proceeds from the event went to the arts program at CCA, new friends were made, and discussions have begun for future fundraising activities at Sky Deck.

The fundraiser at the Athenaeum in La Jolla is just one example of the many Canyon Crest Academy Foundation’s inclusive, family-friendly events created to achieve its mission to enrich the experience of every student, every day. equally important, is how these events build a strong presence for the school and create strong relationships in the community.

Another CCAF favorite each year is the Taste of The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch in Carmel Valley, where attendees enjoy delicious food, shop, and listen to  live music. Local restaurants donate all of the food for the event so 100% of the ticket price benefits the students at Canyon Crest Academy. The Taste of the Village, which traditionally takes place just prior to Thanksgiving, is a great opportunity for restaurants and retailers to tease the holiday season. Pacific Highland Ranch retailers offer discounts for the entire week to celebrate this pre-holiday event. November 2021, was especially lively following a year when many businesses experienced lockdowns.

Canyon Crest Academy, a public school, receives a majority of its funds for arts, science, and athletics through generous donations to the CCA Foundation at the Gala each year. In the Spring of 2021, when the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation put the word out that community support would be essential to their annual GALA after over a year of minimal live, in-person activity, the response by parents and school administration was astounding. When the call came to the vendors at the neighboring shopping center, The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, their generosity was overwhelming. The school received substantial sponsorship from the shopping center itself, gift cards, and in-kind donations for the online Auction from many other local vendors. Because of their strong connection to CCA, the community rallied to support their local high school!

Canyon Crest Academy maintains its spot as #1 Public High School in San Diego (niche school rankings 2022). The money raised by the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation bridges the gap between public funding and CCA’s actual needs. The Foundation’s role is to raise funds to bridge that gap to support the expansive curriculum and enriching educational and athletic programs available to CCA students.

The Canyon Crest Academy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization providing fantastic opportunities across academics, athletics, and the arts, and creating an environment where students can thrive.

Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Director has Passion for Philanthropy

Set foot on any one of Grand Island Public Schools’ campuses and it’s a solid assumption that school has in some way been touched by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation, under the helm of Executive Director Traci Skalberg.

Originally Skalberg’s position was part-time, 20 hours per week. At the time of the position’s establishment, Skalberg was working for the Stuhr Museum Foundation. Grand Island Public Schools was familiar with Skalberg, in part because her husband, Barry Skalberg, was an economics and American history teacher at Grand Island Senior High.

“They called me and had asked me for advice on what that job description should look like,” Traci Skalberg said. “If you want somebody to be interested in something, you ask for their advice.”

Read more here.

Desert Sands Educational Foundation Continues to Support Students

The mission of the Desert Sands Educational Foundation is to secure funding and award money to provide supplemental resources that enrich and enhance student learning in Desert Sands Unified School District.

This non-profit organization has spent the first few months of the school year doing just that and has a plan to fund classroom activities throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Already this year, teachers throughout the district have completed applications for mini-grants supported by funds raised at the May 3, 2020 25th Annual Chili Dog Open (golf tournament). Over 30 applications have been received. A final review of the applications is currently underway with over $10,000 set to be awarded for classroom projects. The awards will be made in December.

The first major fundraising event of the year took place on November 6. Titled the Foundation Express, the journey by bus took guests to two homes located in the DSUSD area. Special thanks to Dr. Mark and Caroline Sofonio for allowing DSEF supporters to enjoy not only the hospitality of their home but gifting two live auction items of services by “Dr. Mark” who joined in the action of the bidding. Additional thanks to Jano and Vikki Montoya for opening their home for this unique fundraiser. The Peruvian dinner, a tribute to Jano’s heritage, is still being talked about. Sponsorships, ticket sales, plus live and silent auctions brought in over $17,000. Funds from this event will be distributed as mini-grants to support playground and physical education equipment purchases. The applications for these grants will be available soon for all DSUSD teachers.

February 26 is the date for the Second Annual Foundation Gala to be held at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells. More details will be available soon but rumors of a theme and honoree are already circulating.

In addition to fundraising events, the Desert Sands Educational Foundation has recently been awarded a number of grants. As stewards of the Hunter Lopez Memorial Scholarship Fund, supporters have been making generous donations in the name of Corporal Lopez, a La Quinta High School graduate who was killed recently in service to his country. For information on the scholarship or to donate, visit here. Very special thanks to the Phil Mickelson Foundation for a leadership gift of $10,000.

The Mickelson Foundation also donated $25,000 to the foundation for the purpose of defraying the cost to Desert Sands students taking AP and IB exams (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate).

Director of Community Engagement and DSEF Sean Webb noted that “community support continues and we are grateful to so many individuals and organizations”. He particularly pointed out the grant from the city of Indio allowing the foundation and district to continue the online “talk show” Classroom Conversations. Sponsor of the You’ve Got IT Employee Recognition Program, CV Harvest Box, provides boxes of fresh local produce to staff members. Restaurants from throughout the community, through this program, provide discounts to DSUSD staff members who proudly show proof of employment.

Desert Sands Educational Foundation (DSEF) was established in 2010 as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. They have a strong mission and they remain committed to further providing classroom funding for today’s projects and those that have yet to be imagined. For more information on the foundation and to support their mission, visit here

New President & CEO Joints the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation 

The SLPS Foundation Welcomes Bridget Jones.

On behalf of the SLPS Foundation’s Board of Directors, I am elated to announce Ms. Bridget Jones will join the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation as the next President & CEO, effective July 26, 2021. Ms. Jones brings a wealth of experience from the non-profit world, and has worked in and around St. Louis for over twenty years.

Ms. Jones follows Ms. Jane Donahue who, after eight years of dedicated service and leadership, has moved on to other endeavors.

Most recently, Ms. Jones served as Executive Director of the Youth and Family Center in St. Louis. During her time with the Youth and Family Center Jones doubled the operating budget. As a consultant with Changing Our World, she helped to raise more than $120 million for the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri and worked on several large-scale capital campaigns for other religious institutions and nonprofits across the country. She also served as the Director of Advancement for Covenant House MO and the Director of Youth and Family Programs for Better Family Life, Inc.

Learn more about the New President here.

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