Monroe News | Oct. 16, 2021 | By Tyler Eagle
A newly established nonprofit has been launched to support charitable and networking endeavors at a local school district.
The Airport Community Schools Foundation/Alumni Association has been established. While it is independent of the district and will operate in such a manner, its focus is to enhance educational opportunities at Airport schools, said Supt. John Krimmel.
“We see it as an additional opportunity to produce funds for programs and kids and scholarships,“ he said.
ACS Board of Education President Will Lang said there hadn’t been a clear path for community members seeking to make donations. The foundation addresses that need, and also helps identify and create a network for alumni, he added.
“A foundation gives (those donors) a professional framework,” Lang said. “… This community is full of people that want to help. The foundation is a great opportunity for them to do so.”
Krimmel said he and Lang spoke to other school districts that had established foundations. They had to navigate the process of establishing a nonprofit, which required filing with the state and the Internal Revenue Service. Those conversations began right before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Krimmel said, adding they persisted until they established the foundation.
“The legacy I want for the foundation is that it fosters an organization that is sustainable and continues to grow to meet the needs of the Airport community,” Krimmel said.
Krimmel said he is often approached by alumni who want to finds way to give back to the Airport community. The creation of the foundation provides that ability while also giving donors the option to target specific areas of interest, such as athletics or the arts.
“A foundation can actually put those folks in directions that will benefit the school district,” Lang said.
The foundation’s activities will likely include the creation of scholarship programs, education grants and providing supplemental funding to facilities projects.
“The goal of everything we do in the Airport community is what is best for the kids,” Krimmel said. “That will be true for the foundation, too.”
An advantage of the foundation is that it also can support district projects that may be cost prohibitive, Krimmel said.
“We hope to have some bigger projects that we know can’t always be supported by the general fund,” Krimmel added.
It also serves as a rallying point for alumni. Lang said the district is large geographically and produces a diverse set of graduates that travel far for professional and education opportunities. Krimmel added it also serves as a connection point for alumni who continue to reside in the community. They often send their children through the same district from which they graduated, Krimmel said.
The foundation will be managed by a Board of Directors, which will include the district’s Board of Education president or board member designee; the district’s superintendent, who will serve as a non-voting member; and six additional directors who will be selected in the coming weeks.
Directors will be tasked with communicating with the ACS district, primarily securing donations for programming, and helping to build an alumni network.
“(The directors) can work with the district to identify needs and then go out and find community stakeholders who can deliver,” Lang said.
Director candidates will be considered on their ties to the ACS community; passion for students and education; fundraising experience; evidence of community involvement and professional experience.
They will be interviewed and considered on the basis of what they can bring to the foundation and its mission, Lang said. The hardest part of launching a foundation is the first few years, he added.
“It’s important to make sure the inaugural board is made up of people within the community that are going to drive the foundation forward,” Lang said. “(The board) has to drive it because it can’t be the district.”
The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.