Morenci Education Foundation seeks donations 2012.10.24

Written by David Green.

with old photo

Morenci Education Foundation president Bill Van Valkenburg is asking area residents to "adopt a classroom" to help with funding the foundation mini-grant program.

The foundation's annual golf tournament serves as the group's fund-raising event for mini-grants—an effort that gives cash to teachers for classroom projects and equipment.

The mini-grant program was one of two purposes of the foundation when it was established in 2002. Over the past decade, 135 projects were funded with nearly $50,000 distributed.

The mini-grant program started off with a combination of the golf tournament and donations from the Sage Foundation. After two years, it was just the golf event.

Now, survival of the program depends on donations.

"Because the area economy is so poor," said foundation president Bill Van Valkenburg, "we were forced to cancel our 10th annual golf tournament back in June. We are therefore coming directly to the public to seek support for this year's mini-grant fund."

Van Valkenburg knows there is always a lot of generosity shown when a need arises.

"It's no secret that the residents of Morenci and the surrounding area form a very caring, compassionate community," he said. "This is made evident very clearly in the number of benefits scheduled to assist those in need."

At the same time, he notes, the school district is facing enormous financial challenges, without the funding to support special programs.

"This is an opportunity to directly impact students in the classroom," Van Valkenburg said, "and every penny donated will go into our mini-grant fund."

Donations can be mailed to Morenci Education Foundation, 500 Page St., Morenci MI 49256. Donations can also be made via the group's website:

For projects valued at $250 or less, funding comes through a mini-grant. For larger projects, such as the classroom sound systems that were funded in the past, Van Valkenburg is putting to use what he learned at a grant-writing seminar and is hoping to attract funding from another source.

Van Valkenburg is seeking donations of money or supplies for the following eight requests from teachers:

• The Mayan Pot project (70 eight-inch clay pots needed), $230;

• Geometry class supplies, $250;

• A drill press and band saw for the Project Lead the Way science/engineering project, $250;

• Personal CD players and batteries, eight for $188;

• Personal CD players, 10 for $175;

• 25 copies of the National Geographic Student Atlas, $240;

• Mathematics supplies for a special education classroom, $133;

• Replacement of science learning materials, $250.

A donation could cover the entire need of a classroom or several donors could work together to provide funds.

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