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Jimmy's Friendship Fund Will Help Families in Need

photo of Jimmy Gerken Statue

The East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation has always been about opportunity. Whether funding program support and classroom enhancements for our students or professional development for our teachers and staff, we’ve always strived to provide educational opportunities in our district that are second to none.

Now, the Foundation is making sure everyone in our district has access to every opportunity our district has to offer.

Jimmy’s Friendship Fund–named in honor of Jimmy Gerken–will provide money to cover immediate needs for families within the district that are experiencing financial difficulties. The funds may be used to cover pay-to-participate expenses for extracurriculars, student activity fees, household needs, or personal needs.

Jimmy’s Friendship Fund will be administered by the Foundation through the Jimmy Gerken Fund, which has been supporting athletics and cocurricular activities for almost 15 years. School principals will allocate the funds based on needs they see. Families may also contact school principals or the Foundation as needs arise. Our goal is to make these funds available to the people who need them, without any stigma attached to asking for them.  

We're calling the fund Jimmy’s Friendship Fund because Jimmy Gerken was a friend to all and friendship was near and dear to his heart. Jimmy was an East resident and then staff member with special needs. One of his most famous quotes is his response to someone who was bullying him about his special needs:  “That’s okay," Jimmy said. "I’ll still be your friend.” 

You can donate to Jimmy’s Friendship Fund quickly and easily by visiting our “Donate Now” page and selecting “Jimmy’s Friendship Fund.” Thank you!