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  • Writer's pictureJamie Burdorf

Three Kinds of Contributions to the Foundation

From President Corby Fichter

Hello to everyone who calls Shenandoah home and has an interest in and follows our Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation. I would like to share our Foundation’s strategies for the three main ways we use contributions to our Foundation. Our board has had several discussions about these strategies, and we all feel it’s time we provide these to all of you. These explanations are pretty short, as I didn’t want to “bore you” with a lot of details. If you have a desire to contribute to our Foundation in one of these ways, please reach out to Executive Director Jamie Burdorf or another board member or myself. We can sure dive into more details when you’re considering a financial gift.

1. Donations for our endowment: These would be contributions for the “long run.” An example of this type of contribution is our “Family Challenge,” in which families pledge to donate $10,000 over a 10-year period. Funds contributed to our Family Challenge have no specific purpose but are vitally important and critical to our ability to fund whatever our school needs are and are presented to us for financial help. Examples of this might be improvements in our school facilities, or perhaps specific and general needs for students or teachers. We need to grow our endowment so that we are in position to help with both smaller and larger needs. Contributions to the endowment are not accepted for specific purposes or projects. Decisions on how and when we use these gifts are made by our Foundation board. Again, this type of financial gift is extremely important as we strive to build our endowment for long-term future needs of our school district.

2. Donations for specific projects: These would normally be funds given to our Foundation and then “spent” on special projects or programs or scholarships. An example is the “Peter J. Weber Scholarship Fund,” honoring the memory of the former Mustang athlete and editor of The Evening Sentinel. The contributors for that scholarship desire to use investment returns on the total contributions to provide one or two Weber scholarships per year. The intent of that scholarship, and several others we administer, is to grow or at least maintain the initial gift or contribution and to provide the investment return to the scholarship on an annual basis. We have also had scholarships of a certain amount that have been given over a few years, until the

proceeds are essentially spent. We also will have special projects like the expanded Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum and; facilities, the remodeling of the high school auditorium, maybe a new gym – and probably other big projects in the future that we have little or no awareness of now. If someone has a desire to fund such a specific project, we would love to visit with that person to see if we can help fulfill their desire to give back to Shenandoah’s schools. This is another very important way people can give to the Foundation. In many cases these gifts are made because of the passion the giver has for a specific purpose.

3. Donations to help with our annual expenses: Our Foundation currently has an annual budget for around $25,000. That helps provide wages, grants to teachers, legal expenses, some printing, postage, and more. We need your financial help so we can operate effectively and pay our expenses.

I would also like to thank each of you who have contributed to our Foundation in any way. We have been able to substantially grow our endowment with your help and support. So, on behalf of our entire Foundation board, thank you for your awesome gifts that have enabled us to build our endowment, offer scholarships, and meet other needs, as well as helping us “just keep our doors open.” What we’re all about is, per our vision statement, “enhancing a new excellence for students in our Shenandoah Community Schools for today and generations to come.”

We would love to talk to you about all these different ways to contribute now and in the future!

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