D51 Foundation begins first targeted fund drive

The School District 51 Foundation is launching its first fundraising campaign with a goal of collecting $500,000 by the end of 2012.

The nearly year-old nonprofit organization has collected about $10,000 in donations for the school district so far and hopes to gain more funds through grant writing and the new campaign. The organization will mail an estimated 15,000 letters Monday to people the foundation believes may donate to the campaign, according to Jennifer Hensel Hildebrandt, foundation coordinator.

Written by the vice president of the foundation’s board, Norm Franke, the letter asks people to support the Investor Drive and pledge a $10 monthly donation to the group. The $10 amount was selected as a target because it is close to what people who own a $200,000 home would have spent in additional property tax if the mill levy override for the district had passed in November. Donations of any amount will be accepted.

The foundation’s nine-member board, which consists of community members and a District 51 school board member, plans to donate money to reading, technology, college preparation and workforce development in School District 51. The foundation will write checks to the District 51 School Board periodically, and the money is for one or all of those purposes. The money will not go to specific programs, Hildebrandt said, in case the district decides to discontinue a program.

Foundation board members also plan to ask businesses to donate money to the nonprofit this spring and will seek grants, according to the boards’ treasurer, Dan Prinster, vice president of planning and business development at St. Mary’s Hospital. Prinster said the foundation wants to provide funding for education in light of recent budget cuts in the district.

“I think it’s really important long-term for us to have a foundation that can provide additional revenue to the district. I’m hoping 30 years from now the foundation is still going and is successful,” he said.

Donations to the foundation can be made by sending a check to District 51 Foundation, 2115 Grand Ave., Grand Junction, CO, 81501, or people can set up an automatic donation withdrawal from a checking account at d51foundation.org.


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