The East Greenbush Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to support scholarships and enrichment programs for students. To find out more about this important cause, we spoke with Guidance Counselor John Evertsen (pictured right) who has volunteered with the group for 25 years.
Q: How did the East Greenbush Education Foundation begin?
A: It started as a really innovative idea. Some Board of Education members and community members had the idea of putting together enrichment opportunities for students that could be funded without going through the school district itself.
Q: What does the Education Foundation do?
A: We help students in grades K-12 participate in summer enrichment programs, such as theatre, music, athletics and leadership training. There’s really been an explosion for these kinds of programs over the last 15 or 20 years, and our students have been able to take advantage of them by using Education Foundation funding.
We also sponsor two $500 scholarships that are given to graduating seniors who will be attending two- or four-year colleges based on their overall academic achievement and their community involvement.
And we have a fiduciary responsibility for private groups or people who establish scholarships. They’ll make a donation for a particular reason and that is to be given to students.
Q: How do students apply for summer enrichment opportunities?
A: We have a website and send out applications to each of the schools in the early spring. The deadline for the summer programs is usually June 1st. Applications are evaluated based on the value of the program, the cost of the program and the financial need of the family.
Q: How frequently does the Education Foundation meet?
A: We meet once a month, generally the first Tuesday of the month. The meetings run about 60-90 minutes. During busier times, such as Gala planning, we will meet more often.
Q: Is the gala your signature event?
A: Yes. It’s a great community event that we hold each year. We’ve had anywhere from 120 to 260 people at the gala. It’s a great opportunity to honor our Hall of Fame inductees and to raise money that will be used for the summer enrichment programs.
The committee that selects the Hall of Fame is not necessarily all Education Foundation members. We reach out to the community and have volunteers cast votes. In the past we’ve had clergy, local business people and community leaders participate.
Q: How can people get involved with the Education Foundation?
A: We’re always looking for quality volunteers. People who like to give back to the community, because that’s what the Education Foundation is all about. We want to enrich our community and give back.