February 9, 2017
Recently FORWARDrf, the River Falls Public Schools Education Foundation, was recognized as the Chamber Commerce sponsored "Non-Profit of the Year" award. Indeed an appropriate award for an organization that has a group of local folks who commit so much time, talent, and treasure to benefit school children.
This high energy group sponsors fund raising events, taps on the shoulder of our generous community to solicit donations and which in turn, has allowed FORWARD to dole-out over $85,000 over the past five years in grant awards to local RF public school teachers. With the grant funding, teacher's stretch the boundaries of their classrooms and are able to elevate learning experiences for students.
As a fairly young foundation, FORWARD has already made a significant impact on our education system by supporting teachers with materials, equipment, and resources that would normally not be made possible under school budget constraints. Specifically, FORWARD promotes creativity and innovation through their mission to support new learning opportunities in our classrooms.
Their grants have provided funding for 70 different project proposals at all grade levels (K - 12) and in a variety of subject areas. Grants have supported such things as 3-D printers, youth leadership experiences, students honoring veterans, solar cars, suicide prevention, elementary music instruments, Lego League, character education programs, and a long list of other amazingly creative and innovative resources.
The recognition award as "Non-profit of the Year" represents many things in my mind: committed volunteers; generous community support; the value this community places on education; the commitment of individuals and the collective group that make an "idea" come to life - and who make statements about valuing children and their education and then actually walk-the-talk.
Who are these committed FORWARD thinking people? Well, for starters they are the FORWARD Board of Directors who include: Elaine Baumann, Natalie Bentz, Russ Blasius, Gary Campbell, Grace Coggio, Lorraine Davis, Karen Fenske, Matt Fitzgerald, Annemie Fosler, Ellen Fredrich, Olivia Frommeuller, Melissa Godden, Bob Gustafson, Cindy Haskins, DeAn Krey, Emily Lyon-Hansen, Jen Mueller, Mike Noreen, Diane Odeen, Bridget Schaefer, Sue Schwartz, Jaci Zimmerman, and Jen Zoller.
Who else is the benefactor of this Non-profit of the Year award? The donors and participants at fund raising events. The generous and caring supporters of the FORWARD mission -- those who believe in public education and who believe in our teachers and students.
Thank you, Chamber of Commerce, for your recognition of the mission and accomplishments of the FORWARD Foundation. Thank you and congratulations to the FORWARD Foundation for your passion to support innovation in our classrooms.
Great people doing great things for kids - sounds like a deserving recipe for such an award.
Bravo to FORWARD progress!
Mr. Jamie Benson
Superintendent of Schools
School District of River Falls