Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation implements new grant cycle
Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides funding for Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s enrichment programs, is changing its grant cycle. Formerly offered two times each year, once in fall and once in spring, the organization now requires grant applications for the entire school year be submitted by Sept. 30.
“One of the main reasons that we switched has to do with the financial calendar of the district. Spring grants were due in March, and we’d fund during March/April, but the school district had a purchase order [PO] cut off of March 1. Teachers were getting the grant fund, but couldn’t pen a PO. It was too hard to process money,” LTEF vice president Michelle Ramirez said.
On average, LTEF provides $40,000 to $60,000 each academic year to the district for enrichment programs primarily in the arts and sciences. The 26-member foundation includes former LTUSD principals, independent business owners and parents of LTUSD students, such as board member Christina Proctor.
“People perhaps were having to retroactively apply for grants. They were doing things hoping we would fund them just because of the way the cycle was. The idea was to do this once a year so people can plan ahead,” Proctor said.
Beth Delacour, former South Tahoe Middle School principal and current LTEF board member, noted the importance of the foundation’s funding from a school district perspective.
“When the money was low for us [in the district] and it wasn’t available, the educational foundation continued to fund things we couldn’t otherwise, like robotics and the arts program. They’re totally kid-focused,” she said.
LTEF is unique in that it provides funding for programs across the district, and is not focused on any one particular school.
“What I like to see, and a lot of other board members like to see, is someone applying for a grant that doesn’t just touch their school. Maybe they want to bring in a speaker, and then share the speaker across the other schools,” Ramirez said.
“We would love to see teachers network from site to site. Maybe someone says, ‘In December I’m using this extra curricular, and we’re handing it off to so-and-so next month.’ So it moves through the schools,” she added.
All funding comes from donations and fundraisers, the largest of which is Food Fest, held this year on Oct. 8 at Hard Rock Casino in Stateline. The event, open to anyone over the age of 21, raises money for LTEF through silent and live auctions, as well as ticket sales for the event. Tickets cost $50.
The educational foundation is run by a volunteer board with no administrative costs. For more information or to apply for a grant, visit http://www.ltedf.org.