Fort Worth school leaders eye education foundation

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Fort Worth school officials took the first step Tuesday night toward creating an independent organization to raise money to support projects that affect teachers and students.

Trustees voted 9-0 to hire the consultant Foundation Innovation for $36,000, plus travel and expenses, to help the school district’s grants and development, management and monitoring department do the legwork to create the foundation, establish bylaws and recruit a board of directors to run it, said Hank Johnson, a deputy superintendent.

School district administrators plan to have the education foundation in place by September.

The consultants would also help appoint officers, seek volunteers, create committees to handle social events and fundraisers, and solicit prospective donors.

“The basic purpose is fundraising,” Johnson said. “It is to support the district with our educational goals, to help raise money that supplements our programs.”

Tuesday’s vote came after trustees received a brief report detailing steps to be taken in the coming months to make the education foundation a reality.

“You can create a stable source of funds to supplement what we do with our current resources,” Johnson told the board Tuesday.

The district expects to ask the Texas Pioneer Foundation for money for startup costs. The district has also budgeted $150,000 for the project.

Trustee Christene Moss, the school board president, said a foundation could help people give to causes or schools of their choice.

“It will be more of a benefit for the school district,” Moss said. “Other school districts have foundations.”

Moss said a consultant will help the district make sure “we take off in the right direction.”

The district’s website says the school district already works with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Foundation but lacks an independent foundation.

Johnson said the foundation will be self-sustaining and will appeal to alumni and philanthropists who want to give to Fort Worth students.

Many Tarrant County districts, including Birdville, Mansfield, Grapevine-Colleyville and Northwest, have such foundations to help fund projects that are tough to pay for with day-to-day operating budgets.

In Arlington schools, the AISD Education Foundation, a nonprofit created in 1994, funds several types of projects and initiatives, including classroom grants of up to $1,000 per teacher, $300 tuition awards for teacher continuing education and medical emergency support to help students get treatment.

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1

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