School Snapshots: Education foundation celebrates five years in Windsor | MyWindsorNow.com

School Snapshots: Education foundation celebrates five years in Windsor

Emily Wenger
ewenger@mywindsornow.com

The Weld Re-4 Education Foundation started in 2013 with a $40 donation from two of its founders.

One year later, the foundation's first large fundraiser raised about $40,000.

As the foundation celebrates five years of fundraising for the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District, one of its founders, Kim Schutt, remembers its volunteer board facing some challenges.

The idea started when the school district was facing decreases in state funding and a continued increase in technology needs.

Although the budget the school district got from the state covered a lot of basics, the school board was worried the district might not be able to keep up with technological advances, and its students could fall behind, Schutt said.

So school board members started talking to community members about starting a nonprofit to support the district's schools.

Recommended Stories For You

Five residents, including Schutt, agreed to do what they could. With all of the members having full-time jobs, it was a big commitment, she said. But they knew it could be done, she said, because many other school districts in Colorado have a similar non-profit organization.

The foundation faced a couple setbacks. The first fundraiser was planned for September of 2014, but the night it was scheduled, flooding hit Windsor. Undeterred, the board planned another fundraiser for December. But the Windsor High School football team went to the playoffs, and the game was scheduled for the same night as the fundraiser.

Finally, the first Flip Flop Gala fundraiser the foundation now holds yearly was held in June of 2015, and it raised $40,000. The gala, so named because the island theme encourages those attending to wear flip-flop sandals and tropical flower patterns, includes a silent and live auction and island-themed food and drinks.

The fourth gala, held last year, netted more than $208,000.

The foundation disperses that money through the schools in the district, from the preschool level up through the high school, which has gone to purchase items from Chromebook computers and robotics equipment to musical instruments.

Although Schutt always loves to see the effects of the foundation's work, one clear example could be seen at the district-wide Learner's Showcase, she said.

Much of the technology students used to demonstrate their skills was available to them because of grants their teachers were awarded from the foundation.

"It really encapsulated all we've been trying to do for the last five years," she said.

If you go

What: Weld Re-4 Education Foundation Flip Flop Gala

When: 6 p.m. August 24

Where: The Island at Water Valley, 445 Baja Drive

Why: Fundraiser for foundation, which will award the funds raised to Windsor-Severance schools in the form of grants

To donate auction items, volunteer, or sponsor the event email education_foundation@weldre4.org. For tickets, or for more information, go to http://www.weldre4educationfoundation.com/flip-flop-gala/.