Greencastle foundation looks to step up fundraising

Expanding opportunities for learning is why the Greencastle-Antrim (Pa.) Education Foundation was formed more than 20 years ago.

Board members now want to take the foundation to a level that keeps that mission going for years to come.

Toward that end, the board has been seeking an executive director and could appoint someone as soon as Aug. 10. The part-time paid position would mainly focus on fundraising and public relations.

“We are looking to get the foundation more active and more viable,” board President Garon Gembe said. “We figured that as opposed to a board of volunteers, the only way this was going to happen was if we made the investment into an executive director that hopefully would make us more money down the road. That’s our goal.”
The foundation began in 1997 with $300,000 from the Lenfest Foundation. It handed out teacher grants and student scholarships as a way to fulfill its mission of enhancing Greencastle-Antrim students’ educational experiences.

“Over the years, our giving outran our fundraising,” Gembe said. “We got to the point where we didn’t have a whole lot of money.

“We needed to reorganize and figure out the direction that we were going to head. We’ve done that.”

Gembe said the board has four buckets into which they would like the foundation to contribute — teacher grants, professional development for teachers and administrators, technology and Kaley Field improvements.

“We want to be able to hopefully shift the foundation into another gear and to try to have the community be more aware of who we are and what we’re trying to do and accomplish, and we want to secure the needed funds to allow us to be able to do these kinds of things,” he said.

“We think there are some real positives. We think those four buckets are very positive things toward the school district and the students within the school district, but they all need money. They need funding.”

The foundation sponsors an annual golf tournament, with the 2018 edition set for Friday, and has done a few father-daughter dances as fundraisers.

Gembe said the foundation at one time had a grant writer, but not during the eight years he has been involved.

“We certainly would like the community to see the value in what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to create — positive results in our school district,” he said. “If we can supply some funding to the school that once again doesn’t have to come out of their budget, we can go above and beyond. That’s what we’re looking to try to do.”

Long term, Gembe hopes the position could evolve into a full-time job.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “I hope it means added opportunities for learning within the school district. I think it’s all based on what additional things we can provide our students.”