History of BRSEF

BRS Education Foundation fills the gaps

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Crossroads Chronicle (NC)-July 15, 2009

Author: Kelly Donaldson, Editor


        Most schools are constantly in need of things that go above and beyond funding by the county and state. At Blue Ridge School and Early College, which financial gaps need to be filled, the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation comes to the rescue.


        Susan Waller is president of the foundation, which started in 2002, while Dr. Roy Douthitt was principal.


        "He wanted to have a non-profit organization that could provide things that we desperately needed," said Waller. "And he wanted to build an endowment fund. We go over and beyond what the county or state will do for us. That's what he wanted, was to have a supplement for things we weren't getting."


        Waller, Andy Shaw, Cindy Fowler and DeWayne Mills were the original board members of the foundation. Others that have joined the board are Will Madden, Jim Yoder, Chad Boswell, Mark Jones, Leslie Madden and Annette Herstick.


        "We're a non-profit organization and a 501c3," Waller said. "We sent in the paperwork and got approved."


        In the time the foundation has been active, it has provided the following items not provided by the county and/or state:


        Televisions, dual receivers, a video camera, teacher workshops, a donation to the Interact Club for a fitness complex, $3,600 to upgrade the library in the area of science, partial funding for kiln in the art department, a computer in the high school English department, college scholarships for the last two years, a summer reading program and materials, helped send children to space camp, helped send children to the Outer Banks, supplied 12 balances for middle school science, supplied school supplies when needed, supplied laser lights for all teachers, bought 30 Computer-Assisted Literary Solution (CALS) programs for students needing help in reading and/or math.


        The foundation is currently trying to supply projectors in grades three through six and would like to find businesses, organizations or individuals who would like to contribute to this cause. The foundation would like to match each $1,000 received up to $3,000.


        Waller said most schools in the state do not have foundations.


        "We just feel like the needs here at Blue Ridge are great and we just feel like we've never been able to get the money to do the things that need to get done," she added.


        The foundation has held fundraisers ranging from a BBQ on Memorial Day to a car raffle, to an ATV raffle. But the annual Nashville Songwriters' Round is by far the foundation's biggest fundraiser, featuring Rivers Rutherford, George Teren, Dave Turnbull and Kelley Lovelace.


        "I'm the only one on the board who is a teacher here," said Waller about how the board decides which projects receive foundation money. "Many teachers come to me and tell me what they need. But we (the board) are a separate entity from the school. We get their (school administrators') advice, but we (the board) makes the decision."


        If anyone would like to become involved with the Blue Ridge Education Foundation or to make a donation, call Waller at 743-2646, ext. 253 or 526-9186.