We’ve Got Spirit, How ‘Bout You!

Did you know that the Community Foundation of Lorain County was the first Community Foundation in the United States to establish school endowment funds? In 1982 James McGlamery, the Lorain Schools Curriculum Supervisor, and John Pavic, the Lorain Schools Superintendent, desired to create funding sources to help underwrite teachers’ needs for support and equipment that could not be provided through general school revenues. In 1990, a matching grant from the Ford and MacArthur Foundations enabled all school districts in Lorain County to establish funds. More than $18M is endowed across 18 different school districts in Lorain County, including Educational Service Center and Lorain County JVS.   

This month we celebrate the Oberlin Schools Endowment Fund (OSEF) as the 7th Lorain County School District to reach the $1M mark for their school endowments. This achievement for Oberlin was 36 years in the making and could not have happened without the generosity of the donors in the Oberlin community. Through the power of endowment, these funds will always support the students in the community. We want to share our admiration for the hard work of the OSEF volunteers who persevered in achieving this goal.   

Annual distributions from school endowments provide additional dollars to support programs that directly benefit and enrich students’ experiences. Various school endowment funds offer community projects like backpack food programs for needy students, supplemental funding to parents for 529 college savings plans and other scholarships, social-emotional curriculum programs, overnight field trips, professional guest speakers, and equipment like computers and pocket microscopes. 

Funds created by each school may serve a broad set of needs or may be directed to a more specific focus, like fine arts support, capital expenditures, or athletic costs. Donors can also create these funds with their intentions. After seeing firsthand how challenging it is for libraries to stay current with technology and ways to help improve student literacy, a family built a fund to support the libraries within their school district. Another donor reflected on a conversation with his kids about the impact school trips had on their learning when they were younger. Realizing that not everyone can afford those costs, he wanted to ensure that finances were not a barrier for students in his district.  Other donors have created substantial scholarships in their school districts to honor the memories of loved ones and ensure that students have help to pay for college.    

Donors do not have to create funds to show their school spirit. Our website has all the school endowment funds available for your support in either a single or recurring gift to your favorite school district. Finally, you can use this as an opportunity to honor a favorite teacher who may have helped make special memories for you, your siblings, your children, or your grandchildren. These contributions and your school spirit will live on for generations of students and beyond.  

Questions about school endowment funds?