Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2007

Endowment association to supplement district programs

March 15, 2007

After several organizational meetings, the Eudora Endowment Association is official.

The group, although separate from Eudora USD 491, will be a supplemental funding entity for the district.

"We haven't done any active fund-raising yet, so everything we've gotten so far has just kind of come to us, which has been nice," Eudora Endowment Association President Pennie von Achen said. "We're just getting started."

The association didn't receive its first donation until January when Sunflower Broadband donated $530 to the cause.

"We're just kind of in that embryonic phase," von Achen said.

The group will prepare to enter its next phase by the summer with the release of a brochure and a planned a charity golf tournament in June.

"The primary purpose of the endowment is to fund programs in the district that would not otherwise be able to be funded from state finances alone," von Achen said.

Money from the endowment will eventually help the district pay for programs ranging from scholarships to technological initiatives to professional development for teachers.

"One of the things a number of people have talked about on our board is that they want to do projects that impact the greatest possible number of students rather than just one or two students," von Achen said.

That could mean funding innovative classroom procedures or bringing in speakers, she said.

"It's really just pretty wide open at this point," von Achen said. "We're not to the point where we've sat down and prioritized those. We don't have the funding in place yet."

The endowment's 11-member board of trustees, comprised of community members, will discuss the eventual prioritization of projects.

Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Marty Kobza and district communications director Kristin Magette serve the endowment as liaisons to the district.

"I think the endowment is a big piece of our picture, our vision," Kobza said. "When we look at other districts or larger districts that might be able to afford a few more things financially or whatever, one thing you pretty much find in those districts is an active endowment association."

With the release of the brochure, the endowment association will seek funds from individuals like Eudora High School alumni, by simply asking for donations and through fund-raisers.

At this time, the board is equally concerned with raising publicity about the endowment as it is with generating money, von Achen said.

"I think the biggest hurdle will be just getting our name out there," von Achen said.

A charity golf tournament might help the endowment do just that.

Board member Jason Hoover is organizing it.

The tournament is still in its early stage, Hoover said.

He has a date and a course, but not much beyond that, he said.

The tournament will be June 4 at Eagle Bend Golf Course in Lawrence.

The endowment still welcomes individual contributions, von Achen said.

"I think our goal by the end of the school year is just to try and have everything in place so that next year we can distribute some of this money," von Achen said.

"We feel a very strong need for this kind of thing," von Achen said.

For more information about the endowment association, call von Achen at 542-2502.

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