Liberty ISD Education Foundation reaches $1 million in endowments

Eleven Liberty ISD teachers were presented grants on April 29, 2019, for innovative classroom projects. The group includes Joanne Knepper, Oriana Cedeno, Agnes Gobert, Jenny Callaway, Elisha Lemelle, Barbara Ross, Haley Regian, Tina Box, Andrea Hagan, Charlotte Greineisen and Ana Samano. (FILE PHOTO)

The Liberty ISD Education Foundation hit a milestone in late November 2020 when endowments for the organization reached the $1 million mark. These endowments make it possible for the Foundation to fund annual Innovative Teaching Grants to support educational programs and initiatives that ordinally would not be funded by Liberty ISD, such as games and technology to help teach math, science and reading.

Last year, the Foundation awarded $9,137 in grants that were distributed among 11 teachers at Liberty Elementary, Liberty Middle School and San Jacinto Elementary. Since the Foundation’s inception in 2007 as a non-profit organization, 76 grants totaling $226,713 have been awarded to Liberty ISD educators.

“When the Foundation was created in 2007, the original goal was to reach $1 million in endowments. I’ll be honest, when I got on the board, it seemed like a far off thing that would never happen, but I’ll be darned if we didn’t do it,” said Foundation President Brandon Davis at a celebration with the board on Monday, Nov. 30, at the Foundation’s office at 1517 Trinity St., Liberty.

Bruce Wright, one of the original Foundation members and a past president, explained why the goal of $1 million is so important.

“On a yearly basis, we do between $10,000 and $40,000 in grants. The amount just depends on who applies and the projects they are trying to do,” Wright said. “We are trying to get to where the interest from the Foundation’s investment accounts will pay for the yearly grants. Right now, it will not cover all the Foundation’s expenses, but it will pay for most of the grants.”

Eleven Liberty ISD teachers were presented grants on April 29, 2019, for innovative classroom projects. The group includes Joanne Knepper, Oriana Cedeno, Agnes Gobert, Jenny Callaway, Elisha Lemelle, Barbara Ross, Haley Regian, Tina Box, Andrea Hagan, Charlotte Greineisen and Ana Samano. (FILE PHOTO)

Davis believes Foundation donors should be proud of the volunteer directors for this achievement. Since 2007, the Foundation has had more than 80 directors.

“These are the moments, that if we don’t celebrate, then there will be no moment after this to celebrate,” Davis said to the dozen or so past and present Foundation members at the celebration. “As we continue to do what we do, we are always thinking of ways to impact our students. Thank you, all, for everything that you do.”

Funds for the Education Foundation also are raised through the annual Liberty Freedom Ride, a bike ride that draws dozens of people to Liberty every year, handbag raffles and Foundation galas.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Foundation board knew that it could not sit idly by, so they chose an unconventional way to support parents and students. The Foundation approved a $13,500 grant to purchase 1,186 age-appropriate educational crates packed with fun and educational games and projects that teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) concepts. The crates were given to all Pre-K through fifth-grade students in Liberty ISD and Devers ISD. As Devers ISD is only a pre-K through eighth-grade campus, it was included. High school students from Devers ISD can choose between attending Hull-Daisetta High School and Liberty High School with a great number of them choosing Liberty ISD.

The Foundation works closely with Liberty ISD but is completely independent. The Foundation board of directors are residents, retired educators, and businesspeople whose commitment to public education in Liberty is strong and in the best interest of every child in the school system. Each board member brings different skills and expertise, and all members volunteer their time and service.

For more information on the Liberty ISD Education Foundation, go online to www.LibertyEducationFoundation.com.

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