The Atchison County Community Schools Education Foundation has gained its official status as a 501 C-3 non-profit to benefit the educational endeavors offered in support of the county schools system.
With the non-profit status recently gained, foundation board members continue to strive toward defining its purpose and market it to stakeholders. One of their tasks at hand has been to develop a mission statement.
“To function in cooperation with and support of, Atchison County Community Schools, as an exclusive not-for-profit charitable education foundation,” the new statement reads. “We will preserve, maintain and improve public education through the acceptance and distribution of charitable contributions.”
President Todd Gigstad said it is a piece-by-piece process that has been successful in other public school districts as well as private schools. It is evident the education foundations offer ways to create opportunities for educational benefit of the kids through various projects without raising tax the mill levy dollars. The Foundation appropriates the money raised toward projects, Gigstad said.
An inaugural project board members approved is a multi-purpose addition to the Atchison County Community Junior Senior High School. The project is considered to be one that might take a few years to complete, contingent on charitable contribution fundraising efforts.
How to get the word out was one of the agenda topics members discussed at the April 29 meeting in Effingham. In addition to members there were about 10 guests present at the meeting, Gigstad said. The guests had been encouraged by Foundation members to come hear about the Foundation and its mission first-hand.
A steering committee is forming to determine possibilities for possible projects to pursue, Justin Bottorff, of Bottorff Construction, volunteered to serve on the committee, Gigstad said.
It was Bottorff and former board member, Patrick Kearney, of L & L Construction, who pitched the multi-purpose addition idea for Foundation members to consider at their inaugural meeting.
Gigstad said the purpose of the Foundation is not just to put up a building addition. “The message is we are more than that,” Gigstad said. The foundation exists to possible help teachers be able to put material in their classrooms that the district is not able to budget for. “
Foundation members and proponents are likely to take to the road in effort to explain the Foundation and its mission to public events like the Atchison County Fair and the upcoming annual ACCHS Alumni Weekend in June.
The Foundation members will also explain some to the difficulties the district currently faces due to school funding shortfalls and the needs. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible since gaining it’s nonprofit status.
Foundation members plan to convene for their next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the USD 377 Central Office, located in the former elementary school building along Main Street in Effingham. All stakeholders are welcome.