Cascade Education Foundation, Rebuilding and Connecting with Community


CEF 2022: CEF board members, Karen Turner and Diane Minerich, organize hygiene supplies to deliver to classrooms for the start of the school year. Submitted photo: Karen Turner

Cascade Education Foundation (CEF) is a well-known and beloved nonprofit in the Upper Valley. Established over 25 years ago, CEF’s mission is “to raise and allocate funds to support the ever-changing of the Cascade School District.”

While a mostly new board is excited to pursue that mission, CEF co-president Karen Turner said this year is dedicated to building community connections and long-term planning.

The board consists of many veteran educators and others with nonprofit experience, but they need help with social media promotion and website updating. If you are a community member with that skill set, please consider volunteering with CEF or joining the board. You can dedicate the amount of time you have available. For more information on how to help, contact Turner at: karenandmonty@gmail.com.

CEF’s traditional big fundraiser is the One Big Event, a gala complete with fine fare and beverages, a silent and live auction, and presentations about meaningful grant-funded projects that help students learn, connect and thrive. During the pandemic, CEF had to forsake the One Big Event two years in a row due to health safety issues around gathering.

The board has decided they need over a year for proper execution of the next One Big Event, so the public should expect it in March of 2024. In the meantime, they’ll be able to fulfill some small grant requests before that event replenishes their resources.

Look for CEF members ready to listen and learn from school district staff, parents and community members about today’s most pressing educational needs. They hope to make connections at the farmer’s market, parent teacher organization meetings, and other local events.

CEF is honored to support the needs of teachers in the classrooms. CEF has helped supply the afterschool ski program with equipment so more kids can learn to ski and snowboard for free through weekly winter lessons at Ski Hill.

The high school and middle school AVID program, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Development, has also received CEF support over the years. Through AVID, students, who often become first generation college goers, improve their organizational and study skills, and receive guidance on college pathways and help with the process of applying to college.

Turner, her co-president Ann Spratt, and the other CEF board members, made a point to connect with the district staff, including the new hires, during their August training days. It’s important for staff to know they can turn to CEF for assistance for worthy projects that fall outside normal budget parameters. “Each school has a PTO but CEF is for the whole district,” said Turner.

CEF also presented each teacher with hygiene supplies for their classroom at the beginning of the year so teachers wouldn’t have to supply their own.

Dwight Remick, Cascade School District business manager and district CEF liaison, commended the organization’s adaptability, saying, “This group continues to support our students and teachers in a new environment in a way that combines wisdom and experience with the passion and excitement of these dedicated individuals.”

When the community donates to CEF, they can agree with Turner when she says, “We know where this money goes. It stays right here in the Upper Valley, supporting our kids.”

 

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