The mission of the Edmond Public Schools Foundation is to raise, manage and distribute funds in perpetuity for the development and maintenance of high-quality public education opportunities, which is a fundamental necessity for the future growth of our community. The EPS Foundation is a recognized 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization originally founded as the Edmond Educational Endowment in the early 1980s as one of the first education foundations in the state of Oklahoma, according to the foundation. The organization formally changed its name in 1999 to the Edmond Public Schools Foundation.
The EPS Foundation has provided more than $1.5 million in direct support to the district. These resources have funded numerous items for classrooms such as new technology, textbooks, supplies, playground equipment and even musical instruments. The funds do more than just put items in classrooms, though. They also help teachers and students grow in their professions and in their learning environment. The funds provide training, scholarships and awards. Volunteers have given more than just their money, too. They have provided indirect support through volunteer hours and in-kind donations.
It’s the $1.5 million in support to the schools in the past 30 years that is troublesome to many of us who support this foundation. Why? Because it’s not $15 million, or $30 million or more. Our school children, under the direction of high school juniors and seniors, raise more than $1 million for charity each year. Why then can we, the adults of Edmond, only raise enough money each year to distribute $100,000 in support of our school children?
The EPS Foundation has a total endowment fund of just more than $1.2 million. With interest rates at an all-time low, earnings from this fund are extremely limited. In order to provide the type of support for our students and teachers that the EPS Foundation Trustees envision, this endowment should be substantially larger. In order to provide more technology aids, classroom tools and playground equipment for our teachers and schools, the fund must be larger. To provide more college scholarships, larger scholarships and to assist those deserving students who are in financial need, the fund needs to be much larger.
Each year, our students raise an incredible amount of money for some very worthwhile charities. Isn’t it about time that the adults of Edmond come to the forefront and raise money for our students and schools? If every subscriber of The Edmond Sun donated just $100, we could raise more than $340,000. Look around you in the days ahead and you will see some of the 25,000 reasons all of us should support the Edmond Public Schools Foundation. To contribute or learn more, visit edmondfoundation.org.
MARK NASH, an Edmond resident for more than 20 years, is operations manager for Pelco Products Inc. and recently was appointed to the Edmond Public Schools Foundation board of trustees. A published author, he also is an Edmond Neighborhood Alliance board director, a trustee for the Edmond Economic Development Authority and a member of The Edmond Sun’s Community Editorial Board.