The mission of the Williamston Schools Foundation is simple: to enrich and enhance the quality of the educational experience of the children of Williamston Community Schools. The foundation provides supplementary funds and resources that otherwise might not be available for the benefit of our students’ education. Our support encourages a high level of innovative educational opportunities and academic excellence throughout our schools.
A. You can support the foundation in many ways:
A. Currently, the Williamston Community Schools’ need is focused on technology — specifically, purchasing hardware to assist classroom teachers. So yes, for the past two years, technology has been the foundation’s focus when approving grants. Before committing $120,000 to purchase tablets for the elementary, middle and high schools for the 2014-2017 school years, WSF surveyed teachers, who overwhelmingly supported the option of funding only technology during this time. The grants have funded tools that provide students with access to technology as part of the normal learning process, and also allows them to complete online, state-mandated testing. Prior to this three-year arrangement, the foundation had provided grants for many other non-tech projects and will do so again in the future.
A. No, although the superintendent (or his/her designee) is a trustee. We are a separate 501(c)3 with its own governing board, financial structure and bylaws. Our partnership with the district is extremely valuable, however, so that we can maintain a mutually beneficial relationship that ultimately benefits the students.
A. Williamston currently has two millages in effect: (1) Recreation, which maintains the community pool and its operations, and (2) the Sinking Fund Millage passed in 2014, which funds roof repair and replacement, boiler and air exchange replacements, safety measures, and the purchase of maintenance equipment for all buildings. Neither millage may be used to support academic programs. The Williamston Schools Foundation helps ensure that funding exists to continue to supplement the unique, innovative academic programs that have become some of the hallmarks of the district’s excellence – programs that often aren’t able to be covered by the district’s general fund budget.
A. Boosters raise money for band or sports activities and scholarships. The PTSA often helps fund day-to-day needs, field trips and special events, among other things. WSF focuses on funding projects that provide high levels of innovative educational opportunities and academic excellence throughout our schools. The foundation also typically only funds projects that are not covered by the general fund budget.
A. Broad categories of projects have received support from the foundation, including integrated arts, STEM, technology, elementary literacy, special needs reading, life skills tools, and blended learning, where different classrooms and disciplines come together to study a topic that touches the entire curriculum.
A. A grant committee oversees the granting process. Teachers apply per established criteria, and the committee determines if the requested project is a fit with the foundation’s mission and budget. Close communication with the school district also helps WSF to know where needs are greatest.
A. We are run by a voluntary board of directors made up of administrators, teachers, parents and business representatives from the community. We also have a part-time foundation coordinator who handles day-to-day needs.
A. WSF receives no tax dollars as part of its revenues. We are a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. But with increasing demands for school support, coupled with steady decreases in state funding, revenue from taxes barely covers day-to-day operational costs. Unfortunately, we know this trend will continue and places an even greater burden on our schools. Whether a student’s imagination is sparked by a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the planting of seeds to create a community garden, joining peers at a model United Nations summit, or learning life skills by using iPads to research recipes and grocery prices, we have the ability to make a difference. If we want to continue to provide innovative and diverse programming that has been the hallmark of WCS for current and future students, we must develop a consistent method of supporting educational initiatives.
Personal or Corporate Contributions – Make a tax-deductible gift today of any amount directly to the foundation online, in person or by mail.
Payroll Deduction – Contribute via Capital Area United Way or Williamston Community Schools.
Fundraising – Participate in our events or become a sponsor.
Memorials – Honor loved ones and carry on their legacy while benefiting education through memorial contributions.
Planned Gifts – Make WSF a beneficiary of some portion of your estate. We can help you learn more about this option, which is growing in popularity.
If you are considering a planned gift, talk with your financial adviser or an estate planning attorney for direction. Then contact us so we can work together to find the most mutually beneficial arrangement.
Williamston Schools Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization. All contributions are tax-deductible as permitted by law. Please check with your tax advisor regarding your individual tax status.