As I near the end of my second 3-year term of service on the Board of Directors of the Union County Education Foundation, I am reminded of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson –
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
Forasmuch as this Foundation has helped the students and teachers of Union County Public Schools, it has also helped me. UCEF does an incredible amount of good within UCPS. True to its mission, every dollar raised and every dollar spent is focused on Supporting Students and Encouraging Educators.
During my six years on the board, the Foundation has experienced periods of both transition and growth. I have seen our board membership grow and change from a small group of concerned parents to a diverse force representing all municipalities, ethnicities, age groups and businesses throughout our county. We rebranded (I love our new logo) and realigned the organization with UCPS to better understand the needs of the schools, educators and students.
I have been part of L.I.F.T grants awarded to educators ($500 to $1,500 each), senior scholarships ($1,000 to $3,000 each) provided to students who recognized influential teachers in unique ways and the first ever GROW grants ($5,000 for one school) given to schools who are innovating in their schools and communities. As well as Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year recognition awards. In 2014 the Foundation gave out approximately $12,000 in grants and awards. Today we fund almost $90,000 in exciting programs throughout UCPS. Just imagine what more this Foundation would do if the funding was greater!
I believe board service is an important part of community involvement. It requires a commitment of time, energy, financial resources and demands a strong personal belief and interest in the organization, its mission, and its vision. It means more than just showing up at meetings and events. It means sharing insight and guidance that supports the strategic direction of the organization. And, it provides a platform for developing relationship, problem-solving and leadership skills while benefitting the community. Board service means you show up and you do something!Supporting Students and Encouraging Educators. It’s a simple mission, but one with great purpose and meaning. I’m glad I showed up and had a little part in helping this awesome Foundation.