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Parma City Schools Foundation gives back to students and staff throughout the PCSD
May 20, 2019
For eight years, the Parma City Schools Foundation, Inc. has been making a positive difference in the lives of students, teachers, staff and families throughout the Parma City School District.
Started by a small group of alumni, the foundation works tirelessly to enrich the educational experiences of students in Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills.
Barb Filipow, a Parma City Schools Foundation Trustee and Founder, said the foundation has provided awards, incentives, special projects, scholarships and other opportunities for students that wouldn’t otherwise be available.
“Our big thing is giving back to our schools and showing our pride,” she expressed. “We saw a need to help students and give the schools something that benefits all students. All the trustees graduated from a Parma high school and,received a very good education and have become successful. We want to give that back to the students of today.”
The foundation has raised close to $200,000 with those funds going directly to students and teachers. Some examples of projects and initiatives funded by Parma City Schools Foundation include
$30,000 split evenly among 15 school buildings for student activities, supplies, recognition programs, assemblies and field trips
$25,000 for technology in the classrooms
Over $15,000 to the Backpacks for Kids program since 2012
$24,000 in scholarships to a graduating senior at each high school since 2012
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programming
“Our dream is to raise enough money so schools would not have to hold as many fundraisers as they do,” Filipow shared. “We haven’t quite made it to that, but maybe one day.”
New this spring, the foundation started educator grants. Teachers could submit grant applications to request funding for creative and innovative classroom and school-wide projects. Grants from $50 to $500 were awarded to teachers for initiatives that may not be possible through the current school budget. Applications were graded by a committee and funding was given based on the scope and details of the project.
Filipow said the educator grants will be an annual opportunity for teachers and staff, and hopes this will help make an impact in the buildings and classrooms. Also, these are not one-time grants. Teachers can reapply for funding each year along with submitting new projects.
“It was on the back burner for a while, but it finally came to fruition,” Filipow said of the grants. “We allotted $5,000 per year and it will be an ongoing program. We feel that if we support the teachers, they will support the students by getting extra money for the classroom for programs and projects the system cannot provide.”
To be able to give back to the schools as much as they have, the Parma City Schools Foundation hosts the popular Taste of the Towns annual fundraiser. This event, which sells out every year, features local restaurants and businesses sampling their cuisine to attendees along with music and prizes.
The eighth annual Taste of the Towns is scheduled for September 25, 2019, at St. Michael’s Woodside.
The organization raffles off a brand new vehicle each year and has hosted Drive For Your Students events, where each test drive completed donates money directly back to the schools and the foundation.
“We’ve partnered with Serpentini Chevrolet, Axelrod Buick GMC and other businesses for fundraisers and they have been very profitable for us,” Filipow added. “We have joined forces with PEA (Parma Education Association), Parma Council of PTAs, CBS (Community/Business/School), Parma Chamber of Commerce, local politicians and other organizations in the community to support our teachers and students, as well.”
A focus in the future for Filipow and the Parma City Schools Foundation will be supporting art at the elementary and middle schools as well as art and drama programs at the high schools.
“These programs are not fully funded, and there is a lot of pay to participate,” she expressed. “A lot of our students and their families can’t afford extra-curricular activities, so we want to help our students have those opportunities.”
Additionally, the foundation started Facebook and Twitter pages to increase its community engagement. Like and follow Parma City Schools Foundation, Inc. to stay up to date with latest news, programs and activities.
The community can support the Parma City Schools Foundation through donations, legacy gifts, attending fundraising events and even shopping through Amazon Smile. The group would also like to grow in members. Visit www.parmacityschools.org/foundation to learn more.
“Our advisory board has not only politicians, but lawyers, businessmen, artists, board members, chamber members, volunteers, accountants, and teachers, so it’s a nice group,” Filipow said. “It’s the best committee I have ever worked on. Dr. Smialek really supports us, and we appreciate that.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the Parma City Schools Foundation have raised close to $200,000 directly benefitting students and teachers. One of their biggest fundraisers is tickets to win a new Chevy Trax, raffled off at the annual Taste of the Towns in September.