We are very careful how we spend our resources. The funds we invest in our primary program – classroom mini-grants of up to $500 per teacher per semester – are not ours, but money generously entrusted to us by alumni, local businesses and professionals, and like-minded foundations.
To ensure that their trust is well-founded, we have developed accountability methods: payment only into the activity funds of each school, not to individuals; copies of paid receipts required; return of unexpended funds required; and annual closure reports from each mini-grant recipient/teacher mandated to retain eligibility for future grants.
We feel that these men and women on the front lines of education are able to assess the unfilled students’ needs best, allowing us to come as close as possible to our goal of putting donors’ resources into the hands of our children.
We are also in constant conversation with CUSD7 administrators. With constantly shifting mandates and standards (e.g. No Child Left Behind, Common Core) need for informed dialogue has grown with the schools’ need for curricular help.
Several retired school teachers and administrators have been recruited to sit on our board, also helping to ensure that all of the volunteer directors of The Partnership are conversant with issues and programs that appear in mini-grant applications.
In the past 22 years The Partnership has thus become a reliable resource for the professionals of CUSD7. As their partners we have been able to focus on the shifting areas of greatest need, magnifying the effectiveness of our donors’ investment in our collective futures: our children.
In addition, The Partnership offers nominal academic tuition scholarships each spring to graduating seniors of Gillespie High School. Regardless of class rank or grade point average, students who have enrolled in post-secondary institutions can apply for $500 scholarships to be paid directly to the bursar of the college or university where they’ve registered. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a student essay and four letters of recommendation from adults. Only one teacher/administrator letter is allowed. The others must come from employers, neighbors, and ministers – adults who can attest to each student’s character, work ethic, and goals. We are proud that we have been able to award scholarships to 20 to 30 percent each recent graduating class.