REXBURG — The Madison Education Foundation awarded nearly $15,000 in grants to Madison School District teachers this week.
“Every year we give away grants. It was for $14,347.46. We have grant cycles, and teachers can apply for grants,” said David Rail who serves as the foundation’s vice president.
Items awarded were the result of teacher’s requests where they filled out applications for funding for their various projects.
At Burton Elementary School, the foundation awarded $2,951 in library books, classroom books and STEM interactive materials. The foundation awarded South Fork Elementary $1,000 for a science unit featuring activity books and kits.
Madison Middle School received around $5,000 in grant funds. That money will be divided up among various teachers. The foundation awarded one teacher $400 for a Holocaust unit she plans on creating and presenting. Another educator received $683 for a 360 degree camera for an upcoming educational trip she’s taking. A math class received $200 while another $1,000 is funding a “Passionate and Mindfulness” course.
The library received $1,000 for various items while the drama club was awarded $500 to help cover the cost of its plays and the accompanying costumes and props.
A teacher at Madison Junior High School received $470 for video production equipment. The foundation awarded another $1,000 toward a reading program.
At Madison High School, the organization donated a total of $2,000 with half of it going toward an upgraded lighting system inside the school’s auditorium. Another $1,000 went toward the environmental solutions class.
The foundation invites teachers to apply for the grants every year.
“The mission of the education foundation is to enhance educational opportunities for the kids in the school district 321,” Rail said.
Everything that the foundation provides is something that the school district, for whatever reason, can’t provide.
“It’s everything above and beyond the regular curriculum,” Rail said.
The Madison Education Foundation is supported via the interest it earns from a large grant it received several years ago. It also hosts two fundraisers each year. One involves having teachers donate $25 a year for “Jeans Day.”
“(It’s) so teachers can wear jeans once a month. One Friday every month all the teachers wear jeans,” he said.
The organization also hosts the annual “Dancing With Rexburg Stars” every November. Those two events combined with the interest earned from the grant help cover the cost of the various items teachers request.
“We have a large grant fund that earned enough interest to more than pay for this year’s (grants),” Rail said.
A group of Rexburg residents created the foundation in 1993.
“It was created by local citizens who got together. They said ‘This would be a good way to raise funds,’” he said. “We have fun. It’s so teachers don’t have to spend their money.”
The foundation benefits the community and its young people, Rail said.
“It allows them to have more experiences for their kids’ educations,” he said.
Rail’s children don’t attend Madison District Schools, but he says that he considers it an honor to pay it forward to a community that’s been good to him.
Rail says that teachers are always thrilled and thankful for the extra funds provided each year.
“The teachers are all excited and grateful,” he said.
While the foundation works to support the Madison School District, it is not a District organization.
“The Foundation is a separate and distinct organization and has no legal affiliation with any other organization, including the Madison School District. There is, however, coordination with the foundation board and district leadership to allow more efficient use of funds by the foundation,” said the organization on its webpage.
A board of directors oversees the foundation, and it is made up of various business leaders, community members and school district employees such as teachers.
“Through the years, the Madison Education Foundation has served as a vehicle for generating hundreds of thousands of dollars that benefit the students of the district. It is exciting to witness the generosity of the community in contributing to the education support of local children,” it said.
All donations made to the Madison Education Foundation are tax deductible. For more information on the foundation, visit Madisoneducationfoundation321.org.