It’s been a wildly successful year for the Van Alstyne Education Foundation by any measure. In only its first year, the foundation has raised more than $100,000, largely through its inaugural Founders Campaign.

It’s been a wildly successful year for the Van Alstyne Education Foundation by any measure. In only its first year, the foundation has raised more than $100,000, largely through its inaugural Founders Campaign.


It was only a year ago that Van Alstyne joined the ranks of most other cities and towns in the area by forming its own foundation. The purpose of these foundations is to assist and enable the school district beyond the general financial means. Education foundations raise money for student scholarships and teacher’s grants mainly, but anything within the scope of the teacher, student and classroom can be considered.


A tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, Van Alstyne Education Foundation has benefited from fundraising efforts such as the Little Big Town 5K in order to fund those grants and scholarships. But the tireless work of those behind the scenes cannot be undervalued as $100,000 in fundraising in the first year proves.


"It was so much of a team effort from everyone. Knowing where we stood just a year ago, it’s a great feeling," said VAEF Executive Director Mandy Montgomery. "And I think [the fundraising success] just goes to show that people in the community really care about the schools."


Montgomery was quick to point out that fundraising success came from all corners as Van Alstyne ISD staff also had the option to opt for payroll deductions to help the foundation. Those payroll deductions accounted for nearly $10,000 in funds; 100 percent of those funds specifically go back into teacher grants to help them fund innovative projects in the classroom not normally covered in their budget. Last year, VAEF awarded more than $10,000 in teacher grants.


"It’s about getting teachers thinking about innovative, out-of-the-box ideas," said Montgomery. "We want to fund and support teachers with creative ideas."


Montgomery stated that the foundation will begin accepting applications for those teacher grants in January.


Part of the $100,000-plus collected will also be used in the future to start an endowment program. In the meantime, VAEF is focusing on sustaining membership and reaching out to VAISD alumni.


Also on the agenda are fundraising efforts, including the Aiming for Education Skeet Shoot on Saturday, Oct. 26. This event will feature four-man teams shooting from various stations. Lunch will be provided, as well as prizes. There is even a youth division. Everything but the shotgun is provided.


In addition to the annual 5K run and celebration gala put on by the Foundation, the skeet shoot will provide another avenue of fundraising for an all-volunteer organization completely dependent on donations.