The Foundation was created in 1987 to simply facilitate and encourage scholarships. Its quiet history, unknown to many people, has seen the Foundation grow from three initial deposits to approximately 80 dedicated scholarship funds, issuing over $80,000 in scholarships annually.
These funds have been created by businesses, High School Classes, memorials to teachers, students and citizens, and by community members who care deeply about students continuing their education beyond high school. In addition to scholarships, the Foundation has facilitated some pass-thru gifts to specific programs within the school system.
A dedicated board of directors has guided and facilitated this mission of service and growth. The board consists of community members, along with representatives of the School Board and Administration. The Foundation financial management has been assisted by school system staff in the form of investments, record keeping and the issuance of scholarship checks.
The Board of the Foundation, encouraged by a community group of concerned and visionary citizens in the Fall of 2007, began to look at ways to provide additional support to specific needs in the operation of educational and associ
ated activities in the Brainerd Public Schools. The ad hoc citizens group, seeing a need to involve the community in providing resources to continue quality programs and activities for students and teachers in light of changing economic times, collectively searched for an avenue or entity to facilitate and coordinate the gathering of funds or in-kind support.
An early option, and final conclusion, of the discussions settled on the Brainerd Public School Foundation as the logical structure. The Foundation had been in place for 20 years, it had
a board and existing nonprofit status, and it certainly was connected to the educational system but not totally part of it. The vision of the participants was that the existing foundation could grow to provide assistance to programs and needs within the community, rather than using the bulk of its resources to provide only scholarships.
Thus the beginning of the new era… In October of 2008, after consultation with community groups, the Foundation Board members, school board members and school administration, a new face and mode of operating began for the Brainerd Public School Foundation.
The new structure is a Board of community members, not necessarily graduates of Brainerd, as the voting members, with representatives of the School Board, administration and staff of the system as ex-officio, non-voting members of the board. The finances and management of funds are controlled by the voting members, as well as decisions on grants and uses of funds. All resources are separate from school system funds and budgets until such time that the Foundation Board, in communication with school officials makes a grant to the system.
The Foundation is also structured to be able to be a service provider and investment manager for other organizations in the community. The Foundation will provide investment, marketing, planning and fundraising assistance to a variety of groups, enabling those groups to focus their energy on their individual activities and promotion. The goal of this planning is to coordinate the community activities around education, facilitate the gathering of resources, and assist the enhancement of educational and related extra-curricular projects.
The vision of the Brainerd Public School Foundation is for the young people of the Brainerd Lakes Area to have the finest educational opportunities possible to enable all individuals to reach their full potential as learners, participants, citizens, artists, athletes and contributors to our community and the whole of society. This includes local opportunities as well as scholarship and other access support to continuing education and opportunities outside of the local community. To bring the vision to a more workable level to create work plans, marketing plans and communication connections with individuals and groups, the mission of the Foundation is to assist in providing opportunities for quality academics, arts, activities and athletics for students of the Brainerd School District.
To accomplish these goals, the Foundation will need the assistance of many factions of the community in the form of leaders, volunteers, educators, supporters, communicators, and most of all donors. One of the finest communities in the world is capable great things, especially when working together. An example of coming together is the recent Warrior Way, Inc. (WWI) decision to become a component fund of the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation.
The Foundation has committed a portion of its funds annually to the 4A granting program. The Foundation is proud to sponsor innovative projects requested by Brainerd Public Schools educators that will enrich and enhance the fine education our students are receiving in our District.
Since 1996, BPSF has made over $125,000 in grants available to teachers for special projects that have had great impact on student learning. These grants are funded through general donations, BPS staff campaign donations, Big Event and other event proceeds, and five specifically endowed funds held with BPSF.