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Mascenic school district

Foundation for education gets started

NEW IPSWICH — As state and national funding for local schools has dried up, school districts have had to tighten purse strings, and some are concerned that opportunities may fall by the wayside in the wake of budget cuts . The Mascenic Educational Endowment Foundation, a local nonprofit, has plans to fill in some of those holes to give students some educational opportunities that they would otherwise miss.

The foundation began in September, after a generous gift to the district sparked an idea for ways to fund enrichment opportunities. Last year, an anonymous donor made an endowment of $25,000 to support math and science programs in the district. But Mascenic didn’t have an established endowment fund, and the donation was instead sent to the N.H. Charitable Trust Foundation for enhancing math and science instruction in the Mascenic district. All of the interest generated from the trust will still go to Mascenic. The experience sparked an idea for a new way to fund some additional programs outside of the district’s annual budget, according to School Board Chair Chad Gibson.

“We’re always trying to find additional revenue for the district,” Gibson said. “We just saw [the Mascenic Educational Endowment Foundation] as another way to fund programs without general taxation.”

The board asked for volunteers to run the foundation, and a five-member board was set up to get the ball rolling. Although the School Board initiated the foundation, the two are separate entities that do not overlap, said David Lage, a member of the foundation’s Board of Directors and its treasurer. Last week, the foundation took an important step forward in realizing the goals set forth by its Board of Directors in becoming a nonprofit public charity organization. Now, they are ready and able to begin collecting money to pay future projects. The foundation hasn’t yet identified any particular programs to target first, said Lage. They will be seeking input from teachers and students to guide where the district needs funds the most.

The mission of the foundation is to fund educational opportunities that would otherwise slip through the cracks, focusing on opportunities not typically funded by the district. With donations from individuals and businesses, the foundation’s aim is carving out a niche for fine arts programs, summer and after school enrichments, math and science initiatives, as well as classroom projects.

“It’s not a scholarship program,” said Lage. “This is a chance to fund something the school can’t support, and give students an opportunity to better themselves in education.”

Now that the foundation is officially a nonprofit, the fundraising can begin. And the foundation has set its first bar high, aiming to gather $25,000 in the first five years, with hopes to double the total endowment every five years after that. Lage said the foundation hopes to reach that goal well before five years are up.

Because the foundation can only use the interest on the fund to support programs, the foundation will be targeting large fundraisers that will bring the most dollars into the fund first, said Lage. To do that, they need more community participation, and are looking for people who have experience organizing large events to assist in putting together some events.

For more information about the foundation, or to make a contribution, visit www.meefnh.org. Donations can also be mailed to Mascenic Educational Endowment Foundation at 16 School St. in Greenville.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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