Derby Education Foundation Continuing Education Mission | Derby News


When it was founded in 2010, the impetus behind the Derby Education Foundation was clear.

“The school district budget cannot fund everything that teachers need. The idea was therefore to form an organization that could raise funds and award grants to deserving projects, be it a scholarship for a student in need or an innovative teaching program ”, said Dave McDonald, former DEF chairman.

Now, 11 years in the organization’s history, DEF remains focused on helping bring innovative educational efforts – for teachers and students – to Derby Public Schools.

Originally a partner entity of the Derby Community Foundation, DEF broke up in 2015 – the same year the organization hosted its first fundraising golf tournament.

This year marked the sixth annual tournament – held on September 23 – and the return of a pandemic-induced disruption. While current DEF president Andy McFayden has reported that the total number of teams is dropping, thanks to sponsors, the tournament still raised $ 12,000 which will help fund another full year. subsidy.

Currently, DEF offers scholarships to Derby students and teachers in two cycles (fall and spring), with more than seven scholarships awarded during each – with a cap of around $ 7,000 in total, although McFayden has noted that exceptions can be made.

“If we need to find the money, we’ll find the money to meet the needs,” McFayden said.

So far, throughout the history of the organization, DEF has given out just over $ 50,000 in grants.

Matthew Carroll plays on the first hole of the DEF fundraising golf tournament.

While the Golf Tournament is DEF’s only regular fundraising event, there are other special projects that help raise funds as well as annual brick sales for the Panther Pride Pathway outside of high school. Generally, however, McFayden said the tournament is earning more than enough money each year to fund the next round of grants.

Being a part of DEF from the start, McDonald’s has seen these grant cycles continue to grow – something the organization strives to achieve as it expands its mission.

“We are giving more grants now than ever before,” said McDonald. “We go out and beat the bushes, frankly, because we have to make teachers aware that we are a source and that you can come and see us if you have a good idea. “

Some of the grant examples that McDonald and McFayden spoke fondly of included efforts to help a group of gifted and financially struggling triplets get a college course and a grant to an elementary music teacher to buy ukuleles – which were used in a recent performance for the Panther Pride Pathway Dedication.

McFayden noted that the grants are not meant to be a “wonder” situation, but something that can be implemented by the Derby School District for years to come. With this in mind, DEF remains committed to better serving the children of Derby by fostering relationships between community entities.

“As our community continues to grow and strengthen, we as an organization must also amplify, serve and grow in this capacity. I think we can amplify the district’s mission if we continue to work closely with them and ensure that we stay aligned with these goals, ”said McFayden. “I think we can be a go-between for local businesses and industry who want to invest in education or our children.”

Working to maintain relevance to student needs, DEF seeks to amplify teacher goals and get money directly into classrooms for support. McDonald noted that the goal of adding a part-time staff member would help continue these efforts as DEF continues to engage in ways to improve education.

Kelly Breckunitch is the editor-in-chief of Derby Informer. Contact him at [email protected] for questions and news advice.

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