Twenty-five years ago, Appleton’s strongest advocates for education conceived of a nonprofit that could take in private gifts and use them to support educators’ best ideas as a partner of the tax-supported school establishment, but independent in its decision-making.
Recently I read through a list of the very first grants the Appleton Education Foundation (AEF) awarded.
In the mix were creative projects to encourage early literacy, help students struggling to master basic math facts, teach and reinforce essential life skills, and make history come to life through hands-on experiences.
Founding board members reached into their own wallets to fund those first grants to demonstrate the impact a foundation could make.
Thanks to their early gifts, and the relationship and fundraising efforts of those founding members and so many board members since, AEF now stewards nearly 90 charitable funds to benefit education in our Appleton schools and community.
It’s clear the community embraced the mission.
Appleton Area School District educators are brimming with ideas for ways to take their students farther and present standard concepts in new and exciting ways. AEF grants – a few hundred or a few thousand dollars at a time – empower them to turn those great ideas into action.
You know what? After 25 years, we’re still awarding grants to enhance early literacy, build math understanding and confidence, and promote learning through real-life experiences. That’s still what we’re here for.
To thank our community for 25 years of support, we are giving the gift of laughter and learning. Please join us on Wednesday, October 12, at 7 p.m., at Appleton East High School for a free keynote presentation by comedian Greg Warren on “Using humor to overcome failure.” Register here.
Visit our website to learn more about Appleton Education Foundation and how you can support education in our Appleton schools and community.
The Appleton Education Foundation, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, has been working since 1997 to develop a steady source of support for grants now, and for many future generations of Appleton children. In the past 25 years, grants totaling more than $5.3 million have supported creative teaching and learning in the Appleton Area School District and community.