One of the College Community School District’s best friends is the Prairie School Foundation. It is the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the school district meeting the needs beyond those provided for by state support as the district strives to reach new levels of distinction.
A foundation is an institution typically funded by outright gifts of cash, gifts-in-kind or bequests to aid education, research, the arts, religious organizations etc.
During the late 1970’s declining enrollment, budget issues and staff reductions created challenges for the school board. College Community’s Board of Education asked the district’s superintendent to explore the creation of a foundation.
It was organized as a non-profit corporation, 501(c)(3) in 1981 and it was the first public school foundation in Iowa.
The foundation was to provide financial enhancement to the school district and touch as many students as possible with supplemental income above and beyond what the tax base could provide and have a long-term impact on the College Community School District. The mission has remained virtually unchanged through the years. Its first gift to the district included three Apple computers in the year 1983. These were the very first computers on campus.
The Foundation is operated independently from, but in cooperation with, the College Community School District. It is managed by a volunteer Board of Trustees from school district residents that elects its officers and appoints its staff. Board members come from many backgrounds including homemakers, business leaders and owners, teachers, financial and legal professionals, and farmers.
The staff is composed of an Executive Director who holds a half-time position and an Operations Manager who holds a one-fourth time position.
There is an annual mailing to Prairie Parents and other supporters for the Kids Fund. Gifts can be made in cash, by credit card, and matching gifts from participating employers. Funds may also come to the foundation through bequests, gifts-in-kind and from earnings on the endowment. In addition, there are several very popular annual fundraising events including Prairie Fest, the Prairie Hawk Golf Challenge and Comedy Night.
Each year a budget is created to set aside funds for annual allocations and special projects. The allocations program divides the funds set aside by the number of Prairie Students. Each Prairie School Building then has a specific number of dollars to utilize based on their respective student numbers. A committee composed of teachers and an administrator who review and select ideas for the use of their designated funds to meet the needs they have identified for each building.
Some of the most recent requests include: flat-screen TVs to display student art and provide information for parents, volunteers and visitors, a 3D printer for a student lab, a classroom exercise bike, a production lab for the students’ writing, designing and building multimedia programs, Makerspace workbenches for students to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills while creating their own inventions, an ice machine for foods classes, and rhythm instruments to enrich the choir curriculum.
Most recently the PSF Board has given funds to supplement the PBIS program to improve student behavior. The funds are used to celebrate observed, positive, student behavior. Funds have been made available to provide more clubs for intermediate students. Participation in student clubs has proven to improve grades, increase student retention and graduation rates. The foundation joined two other funders to provide a digital wall display in the south gym. It is estimated that the display will be viewed by 50,000 spectators annually. Programed by students, the unit will show upcoming events in athletics and the arts as well as provide interesting facts about Prairie Schools for our supporters and visitors.
For additional information about the Prairie School Foundation please contact the Executive Director, Randy Rumery at 319-530-3372 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prairie School Foundation
401 76th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-7034
Phone: (319) 848-5200 Ext. 2044
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