officials said for the third year in a row they have set a record for grant requests.
Teachers, administrators, and residents submitted 65 applications for programs requiring more than $85,000 through the annual grant application program, said Foundation President Mike Lawler.
The Foundation Board of Directors has so far been able to approve 20 grant programs utilizing approximately $34,200 in funding.
Those programs include reading, math, language arts, history, cultural diversity, music, art, physical education, and many others that enrich the educational experience of the students by going above and beyond the curriculum. In all, more than 20,300 students are estimated to benefit from participation in the approved programs.
The grant review process began in February and the School Board accepted the funds at their regular meeting in late May. The Foundation was also granted permission to return to the School Board to award additional grants and funds, if possible.
Foundation members said the organization is one of the strongest in Illinois and is delivering funding in what has become a growing method of providing school funding across the country.
Grant applicants present programs and funding needs in February and the Foundation Board reviews those applications to determine which grants best meet their criteria. Programs must be designed to enrich the educational experience of students in District 365-U. The district serves more than 18,000 students in preschool through high school in and .
Applications are submitted annually for the upcoming school year. To ensure objectivity, the Foundation Board provides criteria to an anonymous review committee who scores each grant against the criteria. The board sets the funding level before reviewing the recommendations of the review committee. Prior to submitting their recommended list to the School Board, a final review is conducted with the district administration to ensure state laws, school code, or funding commitments have not changed since grants were submitted.
Grant applicants were notified of the approval status during the week of May 29 so they could begin purchasing some items over the summer, if desired.
“Our thanks go out to Dr. James Mitchem, superintendent, for his expeditious review of the proposed grants for approval,” Lawler said. “His review helped us validate our process and confirmed that the submitted grants were indeed serving the educational needs of the students.”
The Foundation has set a goal to be able to fund all grants that meet criteria and are working to increase funding levels each and every year.
The Foundation is holding four events to raise funds this year. The annual dinner and auctions, the major fundraising event for the Foundation, was held in March.
A Nine and Dine Golf Outing is planned for Monday, July 9, at the . The golf outing will feature a nine hole scramble format with a shotgun start at 2 p.m. followed by dinner. The fee for the event is $80 per person, which includes golf and dinner. Sponsorships for the event are also available. Information is available on the Valley View School District website.
The Back to School Block Party is planned for Saturday, Aug. 4, at and the annual Valley View Educational Enrichment Foundation Spelling Bee will be held in November. Information on the Block Party will soon be available on the District and Foundation web sites.
The Foundation, which has been in active service since 1994, relies on donations from these events and individual donations to provide funds for the programs. In the first 17 years, the Foundation was able to award 675 grants, totaling over $1,000,000.
The Foundation can be reached at (815) 886-7831; by mail at VVEEF, PO Box 1608, Bolingbrook, IL, 60440; or by e-mail at the website. Donations are accepted online through the web site.