Like many of you, the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation had a busy summer.
The staff was busy organizing reunions, updating our website (egrsf.org), building our presence on social media, tracking our finances, and lots more. Our board members and volunteer committee members were busy raising money to help us close out the cash portion of our historic endowment campaign, Now&Forever. All of us were busy spending time with our families and making memories that will last a lifetime. And some of us were busy in the garden, seeding and feeding and growing.
Now, as the new school year begins, we’re ready to harvest the fruits of those labors. We’re thrilled to see how many classmates reconnected at their reunions and continue to stay in touch. Our website, including our weekly Cheat Sheet list of what’s happening in East, is back attracting five thousand visitors a month. And, thanks to our incredibly generous donors, we’ve raised approximately $6.285 million to build our endowment through Now&Forever.
The other part of that harvest is the fun part. Already this year, we’ve bestowed our Excellence in Teaching awards on some deserving members of our extraordinary school district faculty. We also presented giant checks to the teachers, students and staff members who earned grants from the Foundation last spring.
Later this fall, we’ll have another round of grants to consider. At our November Foundation Board meeting, we’ll analyze several new requests for funding, evaluate their value to our students, and vote on whether to approve them in whole or in part.
“We sometimes get so focused on fundraising that we spend less time on our true mission,” says Foundation Executive Director Amy Stuursma. “These last two years of planning and implementing Now&Forever has taken a tremendous effort from our staff, our board members, and our volunteers. It’s tremendously rewarding to be able to get back to providing the resources our schools need to give our students an educational experience that’s unrivaled anywhere in the state.”
This school year, the Foundation will provide more than $328,000 to the district in program support, enhancement grants, awards and scholarships for teachers and students. “The hard work that all of us have put in enables the Foundation to continue to serve our community,” Stuursma says. “Thanks to the amazing support we get from that community, we’ll be able to reap the rewards of our labor for generations to come.”