SEABROOK SAYS: Everybody knows Jennie Stultz. But, for sure, everybody odes not know she is the leader of the Gaston County Education Foundation. This organization raises funds to meet needs that the Gaston County Schools budget cannot afford. Read on. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?
The Gaston County Education Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, was organized in 1992 to raise funds for extraordinary initiatives not covered in the regular Gaston County Schools budget. Since our inception, we have funded over $950,000 in grants to Gaston County Schools teachers. Our funds, raised through private and corporate investments, are housed within the Community Foundation of Gaston County. A broadly-based board of directors directs the programs of the foundation and maintains our corpus of funds to create a valuable resource for Gaston County Schools.
Receiving a good education is a key component to each person’s quality of life. Providing a channel of educational excellence is the main objective of the Gaston County Education Foundation.
The Gaston County Education Foundation (GCEF) has lead positive change in the following capacities:
In the mid to late 1990’s, GCEF served as a vehicle for major contributions and investments in the building and development of Highland School of Technology, by providing a 501c3 organization to channel major grants, to include a $1 million grant from the N. C. Department of Public Instruction. This N.C. School of Excellence now boasts a 100% graduation rate!
The Ron L. Ensley Grants awarded yearly to deserving teachers, provide funding for innovative teaching that otherwise would go unfunded. Teachers must justify expected outcomes to include improved student performance in End of Grade and End of Course testing. Sustainability and transferability are key components to the grants awarded. An average of $50,000 each year is awarded in grants.
An annual Teaching and Learning Conference is held in August for all teachers. The GCEF funds the cost of two renowned keynote speakers who open the two-day session with inspiring messages and praise to begin the new school year.
When the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative was being launched, GCEF pledged a three year funding commitment totaling $15,000 to establish S.T.E.M. in all Gaston County Schools fifth grade classrooms.
For the past ten years, the Gaston County Education Foundation has funded the handbooks for Gaston Together’s “Pride in Gaston County” program which reaches every third grader in Gaston County Schools.
“Are You Smarter than a Gaston County Fifth Grader” has become an epic event. The yearly tradition pairs area businesses with local elementary schools for a friendly competition to raise funds and raise friends through the Education Foundation. At least 9 of the 12 schools involved are Title 1 schools. The members of each corporate team visit the school building team spirit, mutual cooperation and studying the questions to be posed from the standard End of Grade and End of Course tests. This opportunity offers students, who are ethnically diverse, a positive experience with professionals. The students come to realize the capacity for local jobs and personal success. The event celebrates 360 participants and an auditorium full of raving fans and serves as a major source of our grant funding.
The GCEF has provided creative leadership and problem solving through a diverse support base of educators, foundations, corporate partners, and advocates for public education to determine our most critical funding priorities. As greater needs are identified by Gaston County Schools, the GCEF can continue to be a vehicle by which larger investments can be channeled. The GCEF also offers opportunities for funders to earmark monies for a specific need they wish to meet, to include individual scholarships, memorials and honorariums.
Our foundation has developed the expectation that positive outcomes are not optional, they are expected.
Our principles are paramount to the educational excellence required to keep our county competitive for growth and sustainability.
If you are inspired by our work, we want to partner with you as an individual, business or organization by:
- Volunteering for any of our signature events or serving on our board of directors
- Sharing monetary investments which build our capacity to build our grant awards.
- Earmarking and directing donated funds for particular initiatives.
- Donating funds to honor or memorialize friends and relatives.
We can broaden our sphere of influence through greater connections county-wide. You can be that one connection that strengthens our public schools, one student at a time!
For additional information, go to our facebook page: Gaston County Education Foundation, our website at: gaston.k12.nc.us/gaston county education foundation, by phone at 704-874-1876 or 704-616-8613 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennie Stultz, Executive Director