Local education foundations play a vital role in promoting academic excellence by helping to fund extracurricular programming and innovation in schools. The money raised by these groups helps pay for things that are not already covered by school budgets. Here are a few local groups making an impact.By Lauren Crociati
PLYMOUTH EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Founded in 2008, the Plymouth Education Foundation (PEF) offers four annual scholarships totaling $8,000. Both Plymouth North High School and Plymouth South High School receive two $2,000 scholarships for graduating seniors. The foundation’s spring 2017 grants helped fund Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce’s College Jumpstart career exploration program, Nathaniel Morton Elementary School’s Travel the World through Google Expeditions program and the Plymouth Early Childhood Center playground. The foundation’s endowment recently surpassed $500,000.
PEF presents an Adele Manfredi Excellence in Education Award each year in honor one of the group’s founding members. Last year’s award was presented to Patricia A. Daly, executive director of the South Shore Community Action Council.
The Plymouth Education Foundation will be holding its eighth annual Valentine Gala on February 10 at the Hotel 1620 in Plymouth. The gala is the foundation’s primary annual fundraising event to raise funds for grants and scholarships that enhance the education of Plymouth students. It’s a black-tie optional event that includes dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions.
PEMBROKE EDUCATION FOUNDATION
A small but mighty group with just five active board members, the Pembroke Education Foundation (PEF) was founded in 2003 and has distributed grants that support music and arts performances, the purchase of instruments and pieces of technology, and science, math and literacy programs. Since its inception, the group has raised almost $250,000 for the five public schools in the Pembroke school district. They sponsor an annual Teacher of the Year award, which is a grant of $250 to be used in the classroom, and also award a $250 scholarship to a graduating Pembroke High School student.
The group holds an annual Coffee Challenge fundraiser in the fall. Parents and guardians throughout the district are encouraged to perk their coffee at home for a week and donate the savings to PEF. This simple donation generates approximately $1,000 annually.
PEF holds an annual spring Golf Classic at Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston. Participants enjoy a day on the golf course followed by dinner, dessert and a silent auction. It is the foundation’s largest fundraiser.
SCITUATE EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Founded in 2016, the Scituate Education Foundation has a unique mission aimed at promoting diverse learning opportunities for people of all ages in the community. Thanks to the generosity of private and corporate donors, $51,400 was invested back in the community through 27 fully or partially-funded grant proposals. Awards presented in the foundation’s inaugural year included a grant to Scituate Council on Aging for its Seniors Connect with iPads program, Scituate Historical Society for a Dreamwold trolley tour, Erdman Preschool for its outdoor classroom, and the Scituate STEAM collaborative for its S-Games engineering competition.
Passport Days (Sept 6-10): Passport Days is a community-wide event the week before the start of preschool. The event brings preschool aged children (and younger) together to participate in the community with a special focus on giving back.
Seaside Kitchens Tour
(Nov 12th): A self-guided kitchen tour offering tastings from area chefs, demonstrations from local artisans and pop-up boutiques.
Spring Party at Kennedy’s Country Gardens (2018): This 2nd annual fundraising event invites residents to gather in the greenhouses and support SEF’s mission to fund diverse learning opportunities.
COHASSET EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Founded in 1992 and reinvigorated in 2006, the Cohasset Education Foundation raises money through the generosity of individuals, families and local businesses and presents grants across all grade levels in the areas of arts, math and technology. This year, rather than applying funds to a variety of grants, the foundation’s fundraising efforts were focused on a capital campaign to transform the Cohasset Middle/High School library into a modernized “Learning Commons.” The group was able to raise $250,000 to fully transform the library into a more open, light-filled and technology-ready space for students and community members. In addition, a scholarship is awarded each year to a graduating senior who exemplifies the CEF values of excellence in education.
The updated library Learning Commons will be unveiled for the start of the 2017/18 school year.