Kelsey Patterson made sure to swing by the TCU football offices on Monday morning to show her husband, Frogs football coach Gary, the oversized check their foundation would be presenting to 38 elementary schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District.
Monday marked a monumental day for the Gary Patterson Foundation as it wrote its biggest check in the organization’s 13-year history – $325,000 – that will go toward upgrading the libraries of the 38 elementary schools.
“It’s really exciting. It’s been in the works for about a year,” said Kelsey, a Fort Worth native and Western Hills graduate.
“We had an event this summer and the response was amazing. We were really blown away by the amount that we raised this summer, so it’s wonderful.”
Kelsey made a formal check presentation to students at Worth Heights Elementary, a school located about three miles east of TCU, where Gary is preparing the football team for the Cheez-It Bowl.
After Monday’s practice, Gary addressed the significant day for his foundation.
“It’s the Gary Patterson Foundation but there’s a lot of people, No. 1 Kelsey is the driving force behind all of that, she’s the one that does all the legwork along with our board of trustees that are on it,” Gary said. “We had a couple of dinners that we were able to raise that kind of money, so there’s a lot of people in the community that have really helped us be able to do that, write that kind of check.
“I have a job because of kids and that’s why my whole foundation’s thought process has always been about how do we help kids with an education.”
The Patterson’s have gotten behind Fort Worth ISD’s “100x25 FWTX” campaign that is aimed at having 100 percent of Fort Worth third-graders reading on grade level or above by 2025.
The Patterson’s spend the majority of their time molding and helping college-aged students, but they understand the importance of helping the younger generations as well.
“[Fort Worth ISD superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner] will say, from birth to third grade, you learn to read and then from third grade on, you read to learn,” Kelsey said. “If you don’t have the basic building blocks of reading by third grade, you’re missing out on math and science and all the other things. You’re not learning those things as well as your counterparts because you’re stumbling in reading. We see some of the students get to TCU with some of those issues.
“So we thought let’s see if we can’t touch these kids earlier.”
Kelsey said the foundation, which partnered with Education Foundation for Fort Worth Schools (EF4FW), was able to grant funds of up to $10,000 to every school that applied. The foundation plans to do grant opportunities for additional schools this spring and next fall.