LA GRANDE — The La Grande Education Foundation is set to achieve a milestone.
The La Grande Education Foundation’s board has announced it will be giving out about $25,000 in grants and scholarships during the 2021-22 school year, the most in the foundation’s 26-year history.
The La Grande High School boys and girls basketball teams will both receive $6,000. The remaining $13,000 will go to other LHS athletic teams, a music club, books, school furniture and scholarships.
“We want money to be less of a barrier,” said Zachary Lauritzen, a member of the La Grande Education Foundation’s board.
Those who will be receiving grants of between $150 and $1,500 from the foundation include:
• A new screen printing club at La Grande High School will receive $1,500 for a new printer and training. The printer will be used by LHS students to create and market custom T-shirts.
• School district teachers will receive money for the purchase of new classroom furniture that is more flexible and comfortable for students. “Teachers have found that this furniture is helpful, especially in terms of increasing student focus,” Lauritzen said.
• A ukulele club in the La Grande School District will receive a grant for the purchase of ukuleles and tuners.
• Schools will receive funding to purchase books for students to start their own personal libraries.
• The LHS golf team will receive a grant to receive training from a local golf professional.
• The LHS’s boys and girls soccer teams will receive a grant for the purchase of new equipment.
Since its founding in 1998, the La Grande Education Foundation has paid out well over $100,000 in grants and scholarships. The purpose of the foundation is not to pay for things the school district already covers, such as the salaries of teachers and coaches and travel expenses. Instead, the foundation wants to provide enrichment funding for things the school district cannot afford, Lauritzen said.
“We want student teams and organizations to have to spend less time fundraising,” he said.
The LHS boys and girls basketball teams receive the most contributions from the La Grande Education Foundation each year because of an endowment for them created in 1998 by Fred and Patricia Jarrard with a $100,000 donation. The money established an endowment for the basketball programs and cheerleading program. Fred, who died several years after making the donation, was a 1947 LHS graduate.
The La Grande Education Foundation now has $400,000 in total assets, thanks to a surging stock market and donations from community members.