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THE Bartholomew Consolidated School Foundation is one of the more unheralded giving institutions in this community. Its funding base is certainly not the equal of more prominent philanthropic organizations, such as the Heritage Fund or the Cummins Foundation.
Its beneficiaries are also limited, to those within the school corporation. However, in its 55-year history, the school foundation has had a measurable impact not only on schools in the corporation but teachers and students as well.
Reflective of that impact has been a series of initiatives directed at adapting education to the technological age and providing assistance to schools and families that don’t have the financial means to meet the requirements for this new digital era.
Among the more recent projects undertaken by the foundation was a program whereby it provided funding for students from families in limited financial circumstances to purchase $90 calculators for use in math classes, such as Algebra 2, pre-calculus and calculus. The calculators allow the students to work through math problems more quickly and develop a deeper understanding of concepts and equations.
In other instances the C4 Columbus Area Career Connection program received a grant to purchase six broadband units that allow users to access the Internet from anywhere when Wi-Fi services are unavailable. The timing on that grant was particularly critical because the program’s home base at Columbus North High School was undergoing a renovation process that cut off Wi-Fi service to the building.
Last year the C4 program received a $2,500 grant from the foundation to help in development of a program that will allow students to create their own virtual worlds on computers, an asset that will help them in the education process.
While these might be considered small steps in the so-called big picture, they can serve as a future model for other gifts in areas that might otherwise go
The need to incorporate technology into the learning process is paramount when so much of one’s life is affected by digital components. Unfortunately the devices that are required for this type of study can be expensive.
Some digital devices and computers cost hundreds of dollars, which is definitely out of reach of many families in a community in which approximately half the students qualify for free or reduced lunch programs.
The school foundation has taken on the mission of lightening that burden, but it needs more in terms of assets. In 2012, the foundation received about $111,000 primarily through donations and fundraisers. This year it has a goal of raising $123,000.
That’s a significant amount, but when considering the demands facing educators, students and their families in a computerized society, it amounts to a small portion of the overall need.
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