Educational Foundation of Dexter Distributes $34K+ in Grants


EFD President Heidi Patel and DHS Strength Coach Chris Whittaker with DHS athletes in the weight room. Coach Whittaker received a grant for the purchase of Iron Dread Conjugate Equipment.

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

Since 1985, The Educational Foundation of Dexter (EFD) has been providing financial support for educational programs not in the district’s budget.

Donations are collected, and funds are distributed twice a year in the form of grants. The concept is straightforward enough, but it takes a lot of work from a dedicated group of volunteers committed to enriching education in Dexter schools.

“The Educational Foundation of Dexter is a nonprofit organization led by community members to provide financial support to promote excellence in education in Dexter Community Schools,” explains Heidi Patel, Educational Foundation of Dexter President.

Mrs. Hendricks (left-reading intervention teacher at Anchor/Beacon) and Sarah Mahatzke (right-EFD board member). Hendricks was awarded a grant for the purchase of decodable books.

“We provide financial support for programs for which the district’s budget doesn’t have room,” she adds.

EFD distributes its funds in two grant cycles a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Educators seeking a grant first apply. EFD then vets the grant application and votes on it.

“We just concluded our fall grant cycle where we awarded over $34,000 for 19 grants,” says Patel. “Since its inception in 1985, EFD has funded almost $1 million in grants for district initiatives.”

EFD 2021 fall grants totaled $34,503.16.

  • Horse Therapy - Kalli Nowitzke - Mill Creek
  • Outdoor Activities for Alt. Ed Students - Shelley Rychener - Alt Ed. HS
  • Adapted Music for Students with Special Needs - Bates, Wylie, MC, DHS
  • Adv. Bio-Zoology Zoo Field Trip - Leslie Tracy - DHS
  • Classroom Library Books - Alli Mattson - DHS
  • Loaner Headphones - Steve Wincent - Mill Creek
  • Sensory Support for Students with Special Needs - Kim Evanski - Beacon
  • SNAP Zoo Trip - Erica Ehinger - DHS
  • Electrophoresis Equipment to Examine DNA - Ruth Hamilton - DHS
  • Kiln Shelving and Supports - Roger Sprau - DHS
  • Periodicals for Wylie Library - Meredith Nickerson - Wylie
  • MSU Model U-N Conference - Angela Chea - DHS
  • Oceanography Textbooks for National Ocean Science Bowl - Wilbur Tong - DHS
  • Brewing Independence - Mary Visel - DHS
  • "The Zones of Regulation" Book Sets - Tricia Winder - Anchor/Beacon
  • Digital Cameras - Krickett Chamberlain - DHS
  • Iron Dread Conjugate Equipment - Chris Whittaker - DHS (used by Grades 5-12)
  • Decodable Books - Megan Hendricks - Anchor/Beacon
  • Drones for Flight Class - David Yon - Mill Creek

“We just want to make sure that people know that we are trying to fund excellence in Dexter schools,” says Patel. “We’re trying to help the teachers as much as possible.”

Mrs. Tracy (left) and Mrs. Hamilton (right), teachers at DHS received grants for an Advanced Biology-Zoology Zoo Field Trip and Electrophoresis Equipment to Examine DNA.

EFD’s efforts allow educators to have a more significant impact in the classroom.

In response to a grant for the MSU Model United Nations Conference, one educator replied, "Thank you so much! You have no idea what a relief this is in terms of funding. We are looking forward to a great experience."

"We are SO VERY EXCITED!! Thank you so much for your thoughtful consideration and generous support of our grant request! We feel so fortunate to be able to ask for this sort of support in our own community. We are very appreciative of the education foundation," said another teacher whose grant was for Outdoor Activities for Alternative Education Students.

While EFD does the work, Patel is quick to point to the community. “I want to thank the generous support of the community and donors. We had a rivalry match between the Chelsea Ed Foundation and Dexter Education Foundation at the Chelsea-Dexter football game, where we raised over $21,000. We were excited to raise that and give it right to the teachers. It’s only because of people’s generosity and the community support that we’re able to fund the grants.”

For more information on The Educational Foundation of Dexter, visit its website at

Kaitlyn Nelson (left-EFD board member) and Mrs. Nickerson (right-media specialist at Wylie) who was awarded a grant to purchase periodicals for Wylie’s Library.

Photos courtesy of EFD

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