Community-based education funds

Second graders are piloting a project to determine if sitting on stability balls leads to increased focus and attention and results in increased academic achievement.

High school business students are re-branding the school store with the aid of an iPad point-of-sale system. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade are being engaged through the use of robotics in a program to help them be problem solvers and know the language of technology.

These are just three of the 14 projects funded in the 2015-2016 academic year with grants from the Westerly Education Endowment Fund (WEEF) at the Foundation.

WEEF was established in 2001, shortly after the Foundation began promoting a new idea for supporting public schools: creating permanent endowments in school districts across the state. The people of Westerly were the first to meet the Foundation’s challenge to raise $25,000, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Foundation.

Through the years, WEEF has awarded more than $240,000 to more than 200 projects that “enrich and enhance the educational opportunities for Westerly Public School students."

Three additional school districts also answered the challenge, establishing permanent endowments and earning matching funds from the Foundation. Both the Chariho Community Innovative Projects Fund and the South Kingstown Education Foundation Fund were created in 2003; the Ponaganset Education Foundation Fund followed in 2007.

Together, these four funds “for the support of public-school related educational programs, projects, activities, and services” in their respective towns have added nearly a half million dollars to their schools’ traditional funding sources.


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