Sequim Education Foundation puts funding spotlight on students via teacher grants

The Sequim Education Foundation is getting more of a foundation in its aim to help students in Sequim classrooms.

For years the foundation has supported both youths in kindergarten through 12th grade with teacher grants, as well as local students heading off to college via scholarships. Like other nonprofits, SEF sees funds come through individual and community donations each year.

One of the catches to many of those donations, says executive director Jodi Olson, is that they are often provided specifically for scholarships. The foundation is unable to use those funds for teacher grants — and therefor has no sustainable, consistent source of teacher grant funds that total several thousand dollars each year.

“Our purpose is to serve K-12 (students) in a public school district (but) we have no legacy gifts,” Olson says.

Until now, that is. A recent endowment came in to the foundation that will provide a couple of thousand dollars — “It’s a start,” Olson says — to help enrich classroom teacher projects and purchase supplies.

SEF often receives scholarship-targeted donations through memorials or wills. Olson says those who want to can honor loved ones with donations toward teacher grants as they do scholarships, attaching a loved one’s name to a specific grant.

“(In scholarship giving) $1,000 can disappear pretty quickly,” Olson says. “The scholarship money is still there; we’re trying to shine a spotlight on what the need truly is.”

SEF was formed in 2001 as a non-profit public charity by a small group of concerned business and community leaders.

Along with funding teaching grants and scholarships, the foundation hosts activities during the school year including the annual student Film Festival, the Science Cafe series and Steam Powered Saturday.

See www.sequimeducationfoundation.org for more information.

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