Lafayette schools get boost

Published 12:00 pm Friday, January 22, 2016

A foundation that benefits the Lafayette County School District is getting a fresh start this year.

Lafayette Endowment Fund for Education has been stagnant for a couple of years but new leadership is breathing life into the organization that helps get extras into the classrooms that the school district can’t afford.

Lafayette County parent and community leader Pam Swain is taking the helm of the group this year and a board of directors is being organized. Together the volunteers will create fundraisers and promote a membership drive in the coming weeks and months.

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“The foundation is completely separate from the school budget and is handled exclusively by a volunteer board,” Swain said. “Teachers can make requests for educational tools that they need for their classroom and students that the school system does not have the funding to cover.  In turn, our kids get a better opportunity to get the best education possible.”

Swain, who heavily promoted the Commodore car tag initiative over the summer, said she was honored to breathe new life into the foundation.

“As a parent of three little Commodores, I want to ensure they have the best education possible,” she said. “Our school system is excellent, and I have a strong passion to make sure the teachers continue to have what they need to stay current with the rapidly changing needs of education these days, both now and into the future.”

Swain brings 19 years of experience in the nonprofit sector to the organization and has been an active parent within the schools.

“I also serve as PTO president for Lafayette Upper Elementary, where my oldest son is a student,” she said. “Teachers have needs and we can’t wait to start filling those needs.”

Swain said LEFE plans to have an annual grant deadline of Sept. 30 and after an evaluation period, grants will be funded each October. Projects generally run from $250 to $2,500 and in the past have ranged from science lab equipment to books and hands-on technology needs.

To generate funds the group will first focus on a membership drive.

“We hope to get 100 new members of LEFE in the first 100 days of 2016,” Swain said. “Membership is annual and starts at only $25 and above. Any and all investments are appreciated. As a foundation we will take 10 percent of all donations and reinvest it to ensure there will always be money in the foundation for years to come.”