The Jordan Education Foundation has launched a new, aggressive, community-wide funding campaign: the “90-day Challenge For Children.” Foundation officials are hoping to raise $1 million by May 10.
“We’re beginning something. It’s very exciting and something that has never been done before in any public school in Utah, maybe in the nation,” JEF President-elect Mike Haynes said.
The foundation raises funds to support classrooms and programs throughout Jordan School District. That includes providing food, clothing and scholarships for needy children, along with the Cash for Classroom grants program, which has provided more than $76,000 for everything from whiteboards to iPads so far this school year.
The new initiative was launched Feb. 10 at a donor appreciation luncheon where many of the foundation’s corporate sponsors were represented.
“I travel every day from school to school across this wonderful district,” Communications Director Sandy Riescraf said. “Time and time again, I hear from teachers that they have received a grant from JEF and about the difference that makes …You are making a difference today, and you’re making a difference for the future. Thank you for being part of the journey.”
At the event, JEF board members, along with JSD school children, illustrated the need for the foundation’s programs and grants.
In a live presentation, district school children from kindergarten to 12th grade asked donors to invest in them and their future. “Do you believe in me? I do!” was the message.
At the event, the foundation publicly received a $10,000 check from the Doug and Kristy Young Family Foundation, along with others for $2,500 and $1,000 from other donors.
Other attendees were also asked to donate.
JEF President David Jenkins thanked the foundation’s Outstanding Partners in Education: Jordan Valley Medical Center, Boeing and Comcast, for their contributions.
“I do what I do because I believe in public education and our district schools. They are our future,” Superintendent Dr. Patrice Johnson said. “Every year we lobby the legislature for more money, and every year our efforts fall short. Because of you, we are able to give our children the best and all they need. Thank you for believing in our children.”
While those at the luncheon may have been more high-profile, fundraiser organizers are planning to reach out to all local businesses and chambers of commerce to ask them for their support.
Over the next several weeks, the foundation will also work with PTAs across the district.
They’re hoping the campaign will take on a life of its own, similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. And just like in that very successful campaign, they’re asking everyone who can to contribute whatever they can.
In the ALS challenge, some people carried the water in a bulldozer; others had just a bucket, JEF Foundation Director Steven Hall said.
Organizers also want participants to use social media to invite their friends to donate.
And it’s not just school district patrons they’re asking. They’re challenging district employees to participate through payroll deductions or other means.
In the coming weeks, school busses will be emblazoned with banners to remind the community to donate.
“We want this to be community wide; for everyone to be involved in demonstrating ‘I believe in kids,’” Hall said.