Raising funds for local track

MEEKER I The Meeker Education Foundation was incorporated in May 2012 for the sole purpose of supporting and funding enrichment opportunities for Meeker’s students and school staff. It was formed because school finance in Colorado is very inadequate and there doesn’t appear to be much relief in sight.
The foundation has two components: an endowment and an annual fund. The endowment will service staff and student grant applications for academic and activity opportunities. Contributions for specific areas of interest and memorial funds will be managed individually and according to the donor’s wishes. The foundation wants to make it clear it will not compete with current fund raising efforts of any school group, but will support and supplement these endeavors.
The annual fund drive is designed to accomplish a specific project for the school district each year. The first of these will be replacing the school track. Other future projects include startup funds for critical programs the district hasn’t been able to afford or has had to discontinue such as an artist-in-residence program for the elementary and middle schools. Expanding the scope of the district’s technology program is another category under consideration.
The foundation is currently fund raising for grant match dollars with which to replace the district track. It is widely used by all three building levels, Eastern Rio Blanco Rec. and Parks District, and the community at large. Governmental agencies also use the track for training and endurance testing. The facility is in such disrepair that track meets can no longer be hosted in Meeker. Most importantly, it poses a safety threat to our students who practice on it. Liability issues could bring this to a close in the foreseeable future.
Plans are in place to apply for an Energy Impact Tier II grant from Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs for this ambitious million dollar project. Only governmental entities are eligible for these competitive grants and the school district will have to formally make application. The foundation’s role will be to secure the grant’s mandatory 25 percent match dollars as well as support and assist in the application process. Alternative funding opportunities will be pursued if necessary, but the foundation is happy to report Natural Soda, Inc. has generously committed to support the effort already. Although the foundation is a nonprofit, its board points out that tax exempt status is pending with the Internal Revenue Service. They have reason to believe final approval will be forthcoming soon.
Meeker High School students have taken on the important challenge of developing the foundation’s website which will be pivotal in expanding the nonprofit’s influence. The public will be informed once the site is up and running.
If you have questions or wish to contribute, please contact a foundation board member: Dan Chinn, 970-596-2446, danchinn@hotmail.com; Mandi Etheridge, 878-3103, mootera @yahoo.com; Tawny Halandras, 878-5126, Tawnyh@bankmvb.com; Becky Hughes, 878-5784, bughes@meeker.k12.co.us; Barbara Phelan, 878-3337, barbp33@hotmail.com; Jerry Oldland, 878-4711, jerryold@wreawild blue.org; or Mary Strang, 878-5362, strangherefords@wreawildblue.org.