As school districts across the nation continue to face budget cuts and decreases in state aid, it has become imperative for schools to come up with new ways of getting and maintaining funds. That is the premise behind the creation of the Broken Bow Schools Foundation.
Big projects - such as renovations and large facility projects - have the greatest need of funding when budget dollars are cut. Dr. Virginia Moon, BBPS Superintendent, says because of that districts need a vehicle in which to launch that scope of projects, and a foundation offers this vehicle.
The newly formed Broken Bow Schools Foundation will be housed in the Custer County Foundation; it will not be its own 501c3 entity. The foundation’s greatest asset is that it allows the school and business community to form a partnership in achieving the goals of the district.
Though the foundation is new, the concept of getting the community involved in financing school projects is not. For example, the lighting and renovation of the football field was generously sponsored by the local business community.
“This would have been a terrific vehicle for that project,” said Dr. Moon. “Foundations can do so much.”
The foundation is a perfect tool for alumni of the district, allowing them to give back to the school system where their own educations were launched. During this past weekend’s alumni gathering at the Municipal Building, the foundation was formally introduced.
A special kick-off reception for the alumni was hosted by the newly formed Broken Bow Schools Foundation Board of Directors during Friday evening’s registration.
“The foundation is looking for folks with a strong interest in education and the strength of public education,” said Dr. Moon.
To make being part of the foundation even easier, the opportunity has been put into place for payroll deductions so contributions may be made right from the persons paycheck. Dr. Moon herself has signed up for that deduction.
Dr. Moon says she believes it is best to start small, and as the foundation grows so can the projects.
“As projects come to light, the growth of the foundation will walk with that hand in hand,” she explains.
It was the Broken Bow Schools Foundation that paid for the recently conducted telephone survey on the district’s facilities.
Dr. Moon explains that the foundation is looking for activities that will enrich the school experience without burdening the tax payers.
“If a donor wants to earmark a donation for a specialized project, that is completely acceptable - and in fact invited,” she says. “That might include such things as a matching grant for a visiting artist, or for bringing in a specific group such as within the humanities or fine arts.”
Other ideas being considered for funding through the foundation include books for the library and specific student publishing projects.
“The foundation could pay for the extra time and materials needed to publish the books,” explains Dr. Moon. “It could ‘underwrite’ the project.”
Another area that could benefit from foundation funds might be field trips. Dr. Moon explained that with the budget cuts the district has experienced, travel has had to be cut - “even though the field trips enrich the student’s educational experience.” Someone could contribute to a field trip for a special interest or activity, as there is now a board to administer this type of giving.
The Broken Bow School district has active booster groups, and Dr. Moon explains that the role of the foundation is to help support the fund-raising efforts of those groups - not to compete with them. She emphasized a number of times the importance of understanding that the foundation is a vehicle for managing large donations.
One way the foundation could help the booster groups would be to maintain an alumni mailing list and to offer to do mailings. The foundation could also administratively manage the costs of fund-raising for the booster groups.
Dr. Moon also emphasized that the foundation is new - a fledgling group hoping to come under the strength of the Custer County Foundation.
“The Custer County Foundation shows how important a foundation can be,” she says.
“A foundation gives individuals and the community a way to touch the life of a child or a group of children,” says Dr. Moon. “It gives a person a chance to give to others what you gave to your own children.”
For more information on how you can become part of the Broken Bow Schools Foundation, contact Dr. Virginia Moon at 872-6821, or visit the school’s website at www.bbps.org  and click on the organizations tab on the left.