The Westerville Education Foundation is offering an unprecedented funding opportunity next month for innovative programming to benefit Westerville City School District students, thanks to the community's response to a fundraiser earlier this year.
"We are really excited about this," said Colleen Moidu, the foundation's executive director. "We have up to $10,000 available to fund projects.
"Because of the great response we had for (the April 5) An Artful Affair, we are able to provide some additional funding for some time-sensitive projects in the district," she said.
She said all active projects that have been created by district staff on the foundation's Fund-a-Project Module will be considered.
"We will focus on time-sensitive and innovative projects and will consider the amount of community support (through donations made on the fund-a-project webpage) each project has received," Moidu said.
She said the program is made possible thanks, in part, to the incredible community response for An Artful Affair gala, presented by Education First Credit Union and Mount Carmel St. Ann's.
Each year, in December, the foundation awards grants to district staff for innovative educational programming.
The foundation also has an online funding module the district's staff can utilize throughout the year to solicit community support for programming needs that arise outside of the annual grant cycle.
Moidu said this summer funding opportunity combines these two programs in a new way to fund exciting programming that will benefit students in Westerville schools in the 2018-19 school year.
On July 20, the foundation's board will review and vote on all active projects on the Fund-a-Project Module.
Chosen projects will be awarded monetary support.
One project seeking funding is a proposal by Westerville South High School English teacher Jen Baker for a Diverse Library that would reflect the diversity in her classroom.
"Roughly 48 percent of Westerville South's student body is a racial or ethnic minority," Baker wrote in her project description. "Twelve percent of the student body has a disability and 37 percent is economically disadvantaged. Unfortunately, these students do not often see themselves in the books they read in school. I would like to change this."
Another active project seeking funding is a schoolwide afterschool homework club, started by Tracy Price, that was successful last school year at Fouse Elementary School.
This program gives English as a Second Language students with no computer, internet or parent support (due to language), an opportunity to complete homework with teacher direction and encouragement.
"Students feel a sense of pride for being able to complete their homework correctly and build relationships with the individuals helping them," Price said.
"They feel more a part of the school community because they are able to take part in the same educational activities as their peers."
Another proposed project is a schoolwide program at Blendon Middle School called Where Everyone Belongs.
The goal of the program would be to promote a positive culture, transition sixth-graders to middle school and develop eighth-grade leaders, according to teacher Amy Weinrich.
Approximately $1,000 is being sought for the research based program through The Boomerang Project Inc.
The year-long program would begin with leader selection in the spring (eighth-graders) and then continue into the following school year.
"Community contributions to these projects will factor into our decisions about which projects to grant additional WEF funding this summer," Moidu emphasized.
"You can financially support a program you care about and cast a vote for additional funding with your donation."
There are currently 14 projects seeking funding, including those that support poetry and creative writing, resources for AP statistics students, culture celebrations and innovative elementary classroom collaboration and redesign.
To view the details for active projects that will be considered visit westervilleeducationfoundation.com and click on the Fund-a-Project Module link.
Moidu said An Artful Affair was a success thanks to more than 50 community sponsors. More than 250 guests gathered at the Lakes Golf and Country Club for the fundraiser, which raised more than $70,000.
The event featured artwork from local professional and student artists, as well as live music from local jazz musicians. It raised funds through sponsorships, ticket sales and an art auction.