A happy and healthy new year to you all! In our communities in Nebraska, the vaccine is rolling out on a tiered system and it is going well. Our District is working diligently to return students to 100% in-person learning in February and excitement is building. While we know that not all students will return to the buildings immediately until the vaccination is community-wide, it does bring hope for those who have potentially struggled remotely or felt isolated to return to being with others. Credit recovery will be an issue for students all over the country, but I continue to hear how Foundation’s are working with their Districts on a variety of levels to assist.
Many of us partner with our local food banks and this winter was no exception. There continue to be significant struggles for families around the country, many of whom who have never had to use this resource. For the Foundations who assist with social service needs or who developed a special Covid related fund for students and faculty, a special thank you for the work. It did not go unnoticed.
At our Foundation, January begins the scholarship process for many of our seniors. A special thank you to the many colleagues across the country who shared their scholarship protocols and systems as our team decided to make an upgrade toward better service. That’s the thing about the NSFA; We are here for each other and whether you find us on social media and pose questions, or you reach out to each other by phone or email, we are a phenomenal community of support who will readily share information. While I am sorry not to see you in person at this year’s national conference, I can’t wait to meet you virtually. A special thanks to our conference committee and the team at AMI. This promises to be an incredible opportunity for all and you won’t want to miss it. Make sure you are registered and please reach out if you need questions answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toba Cohen-Dunning, CEFL, MSW, MPA
President, National School Foundation Association
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By: Tracy Burger, Director of Member Development at Consortium of Florida Education Foundations
Over the past several months we’ve noticed a kind of “cognitive fatigue” wash over our members and people we work with. We in the nonprofit education industry—the “helpers of the helpers”--are prone to giving more than receiving, it’s just in our DNA. But when you do that day in and day out, day in and day out, over and over again, exhaustion surges down on you like a river after a rainstorm, taking your capacity to function downstream and out of sight. Our systems just weren’t built to withstand months of onslaught and constant adapting, pivoting, challenges, stressors.
About the Author
The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations is a 64-member statewide organization that works with members and partners to connect individuals, organizations and financial resources, building the capacity and effectiveness of Florida’s local education foundations. The Consortium regularly convenes its member foundations for professional development opportunities and actively promotes the sharing of leading practices in quarterly in-person forums, shared interest groups and virtual learning.
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The National School Foundation Association (NSFA) is leading the education foundation movement by connecting, informing, and supporting local education foundations across the United States. Membership with NSFA provides you with access to the tools, resources and networking opportunities you need to grow and strengthen your foundation.
If you're interested in becoming a member of the NSFA, complete the online application process here!
Cheering for Scholars From a Distance - How the Camden Schools Foundation rolled with the punches and delivered an impactful scholarship event during the pandemic
By: Dawn M. Epstein, Executive Director of the Camden Schools Foundation
The Camden Schools Foundation (CSF) supports the students and schools in Camden, NJ. Since 2007, the foundation has awarded more than $1M in scholarships and grants in Camden. Every June CSF hosts a Golf Outing to raise scholarship funds for graduating seniors. A core element of the foundation’s mission is to provide graduating seniors with scholarships to help cover the costs of going to college. Unlike academic or need-based scholarships, the
In March of 2020, like so many other organizations we were faced with the prospect of having to cancel our Golf Outing. We ended up moving it to the fall when we (hopefully) would be able to hold the event.
But that raised the question – what about the students? By September, our graduates would be in college and not necessarily able to come to an event to be celebrated. Of course, we could mail their checks, but where was the fun in that? Part of the joy of the Golf Outing over the years was getting to meet the students and have their families share in this proud moment. Inspired by the drive-by birthday parties and wave parades that began popping up in the late
“These students are our heroes. They represent all five public high schools and one renaissance charter school in Camden,” said Jack Tarditi, CSF Board President. “We couldn’t be prouder of all they have accomplished.”
With the help of the Camden Parking Authority, CSF was able to set up a drive through station where students came to receive their checks, goody bags, and pose for photos while the Board of Trustees cheered them on. Festive balloons and a gigantic check with their name on it made the event even more fun. All the local TV stations came out to cover the event, eager to report on an uplifting story during such a difficult time.
“This event reminded us all why we do what we do,” said Dawn Epstein, CSF Executive Director. “Seeing the students and their families as they received their scholarships was so uplifting. We are so proud of them.”
The Foundation held its golf outing in September 2020 and provided sponsors and guests with an opportunity to hear stories of thanks from scholarship recipients about how the funds made a difference during their transition to college. Using the photos and videos from the check pick up event in the marketing materials for the Golf Outing helped us surpass our fundraising goal of $70,000. During an unprecedented time, we were grateful to be able to take one canceled event and turn it into two different, but very successful events.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dawn Epstein is the Executive Director of the Camden Schools Foundation. She has spent her career in nonprofit management and fundraising across a variety of educational and health related nonprofits. Additionally, she serves as an adjunct professor of marketing and communications at The College of New Jersey where she earned her Bachelor's in Communication Studies. She also has a Master's of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She lives in Cherry Hill, NJ with her husband, two daughters, and Bernedoodle puppy.
By: Matt Gandal, President & CEO, Education Strategy Group
ABOUT THE AUTHOR