By Tran Longmoore, www.thesalinepost.com
The Foundation for Saline Area Schools (FSAS) spent much of 2017-18 celebrating 30 years of supporting educational initiatives in Saline. If plans for year 31 are any indication, the next 30 years should continue to be bigger and better.
Speaking to the Board of Education June 26, FSAS Executive Director Annherst Kreitz outlined the foundation’s recent accomplishments, its financial standing and plans for the future.
“I hear a lot of stories from other communities about a lack of cooperation and collaboration between school districts and their foundations. Thanks to the board members and administration here, we don’t have that issue in Saline,” Kreitz said.
Since 1987, the foundation has issued more than $500,000 in teaching grants. Last year the foundation funded dozens of educational initiatives – everything from “Ozobot” bit coding robots, to underwater robotics to a Lego wall.
Including strategic grants, the foundation has funded more than $1 million worth of initiatives. In the past, the FSAS strategic grants funded one major initiative each year, including Project Lead the Way STEM curriculum in the middle school, or world languages curriculum in the elementary schools. Last year the foundation changed the way it awards strategic grants. Instead of funding one major project in the district, the foundation awarded $119,000 in grants at various buildings throughout the district.
“It’s the most we’ve ever raised and given to the schools. I’m very proud of that,” Kreitz said.
The grants funded “makerspace” carts at the elementary schools, a redesign of the media center at Heritage Middle School, and outdoor learning spaces at Liberty School. This summer the foundation is funding a new “student success center” called The Bridge to be created at Saline High School.
Last year the foundation raised $239,000. It had $96,303 in costs and disbursed $121,000 to the district. The foundation has net assets worth $696,824.
“We’re getting closer to that goal of a $1 million endowment,” Kreitz said. “We’re in a very good position.”
The foundation has 38 corporate sponsors including several important new partnerships. Emagine Theatre has hosted and paid for several galas for the foundation.
Organizers have begun planning next year’s events and Kreitz said the foundation is working to align the organization with the district’s “SAS Compass.”
Planned events include: the Downtown Pep Rally, which introduces athletes, cheerleaders and marching band members to the community – takes place Aug. 16; Hall of Fame weekend is Sept. 14-15, with the banquet Sept. 15; The fall luncheon is Oct. 18 at Liberty School; Snowblast is planned for Feb. 2.
For more information about the Foundation for Saline Area Schools visithttps://www.supportfsas.org.