Foundation gives $9,000 in scholarshipsPublished 7:00am Thursday, March 13, 2014
Despite its nearly three decades of existence, many of the members of the Dowagiac Union Schools Foundation refer to the organization as Dowagiac’s best-kept secret.
One thing that isn’t hidden is the generosity the foundation has shown the students and staff of the local school district.
Last month, the eight-person board of the foundation granted $9,315.73 to various projects proposed by teachers. This school year alone the foundation has donated more than $18,000, said board chair Tom Carlson.
“It’s amazing that we can give that kind of money away,” Carlson said.
The board meets twice a year, once in October and once in February, to decide which proposals received from school staff should be awarded small grants. The largest of these grants the foundation awarded was for $3,000 to bring in a special suicide prevention program at the high school and middle School in May, Carlson said.
“If we can save one child it’s a good use of the money,” Carlson said. “It will be a cheap $3,000 to spend.”
The foundation routinely contributes money for field trips and events for local students as well, including trips to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo Museum and Dearborn’s Greenfield Village.
“This is stuff that our schools’ budgets would never be able to afford in this current economic environment,” Carlson said.
The foundation also sponsors the school’s biannual Senior Citizen Luncheons, where students of the high school home economics class serve a special lunch for seniors.
“We serve every senior citizen from the town who wants to come for lunch,” Carlson said. “I see people all the time on the street who ask when we’re having them back over.”
The foundation draws its entire funding for the year from the annual Chieftain Golf Outing, which they hold along with the Dowagiac Athletic Boosters at the Indian Lake’s Golf Course. The two organizations split the proceeds generated from the event.
Last year was the largest outing yet, generating more than $30,000, Carlson said.
“The foundation raises money for one reason: to spend it on our K-12 students,” Carlson said.