Schools foundation seeks 50 supporters

Contributed photo: Students in Carol Robertson’s biology class use cameras purchased through a Fulton Public Schools Foundation grant to make stop-action videos of mitosis and meiosis using pipe-cleaner models for chromosomes.

Contributed photo: Students in Carol Robertson’s biology class use cameras purchased through a Fulton Public Schools Foundation grant to make stop-action videos of mitosis and meiosis using pipe-cleaner models for chromosomes.

The Fulton Public Schools Foundation is on the hunt for local supporters of public education.

The organization, created in 2003 to provide supplemental funding for the Fulton school district, has launched an endowment fund campaign, Founding 50 — with a goal of raising $50,000 — to help further its efforts.

“We are working to add value to the schools,” said Bruce Hackmann, president of the Fulton Public Schools Foundation board of directors. “We’re there to support, benefit, enhance what the school has to offer. We step in to fill the void for classroom needs that can’t be fulfilled under the regular budget.”

He said the Fulton Public Schools Foundation has generated approximately $9,000 per year through the Major Saver Program — for which students sell special cards with discounts to local businesses — which go entirely back into local classrooms.

“Each year we fund five to 10 classroom grants from $500 to $2,000 a year,” Hackmann said.

Grants during the 2010-11 school year included the Student Authors program at Fulton Middle School in which students wrote and published an original story with illustrations; RUS (R U safe?) at FMS in which students created a multimedia presentation on the potential risks of the Internet; Bear Broadcasting at McIntire School in which students create monthly news broadcasts about local and world events; Foreign Language at Fulton High School in which teachers integrate language learning with cultural media and Picture This, Part II at the high school in which students used digital imaging to study gel electrophoresis in genetics.

In order to provide further opportunities for Fulton students, Hackmann said the foundation is looking for 50 individuals or couples that are willing to give $1,000 toward the non-profit organization’s $50,000 goal.

“We’re between $15,000 and $20,000 now. We’re talking to individuals, couples, families in the Fulton community only,” Hackmann said, noting there may be campaigns targeting businesses and Fulton alumni outside the city in the future. “Right now we’re focused on finding people in the Fulton community that believe in public education in this community.”

Although a $1,000 donation is required to be considered one of the Founding 50, he said contributions of any amount would be appreciated, and can be sent to the Fulton Public Schools Foundation at 2 Hornet Dr., Fulton, MO.

Hackmann said the principal of the $50,000 would not be used, only the interest. The donations would create a self-sustaining fund that over time would generate investment income and serve as a perpetual source of supplemental funding.

Board member Joe Holt said starting an endowment fund is particularly important now for two reasons.

“One is the support from government for public education — specifically the state of Missouri — is declining regularly,” Holt said. “If we want our public schools to continue to turn out well-educated students we’re going to have to find alternate sources.”

Holt said he is confident in the foundation’s ability to raise the funds based on previous experience raising money for various causes throughout the Fulton community.

“We have a very generous and giving community and this is probably the most worthwhile project one could support,” Holt said. “(Our schools) need help, need assistance, need innovation ... and this is a way the average citizen can get involved.”

Hackmann, who emphasized that the Fulton Public Schools Foundation is not associated directly with the school district and is a different entity entirely, echoed that appeal.

“(Supporting the endowment fund) shows the community is behind public education at a time when funding is jeopardized from the state level,” Hackmann said. “We want to step in and maintain the quality of education we’ve come to expect from our schools.”

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