Alabaster school Foundation providing grants to teachers, student clubs
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – Those looking to donate directly to Alabaster’s classrooms will now have an easier way to do so after the city launched its first school Foundation on Aug. 9.
Members of the Alabaster Schools Foundation held a kickoff event at Thompson Middle School on Aug. 9, launching the first group of its kind serving only Alabaster schools.
Through the Foundation, which is a certified nonprofit, local companies and individuals can make tax-deductible donations and teachers can sign up for payroll deductions to benefit the city’s classrooms.
Alabaster teachers and student organizations can then apply for grants from the Foundation to fund classroom improvements, projects and more.
“It is purely academic grants for teachers and student organizations,” Foundation board member Heidi Ramey said during an Aug. 12 phone interview.
Ramey said the Foundation was established in 2011 when the city decided to form its own school system, but said the organization didn’t start fundraising until this summer.
“Most successful school systems have school foundations,” Ramey said, noting Alabaster teachers benefited from the Shelby County School System Foundation before Alabaster City Schools existed. “In the last week alone, we’ve raised close to $15,000, and we still have teachers signing up for payroll deductions every day. By the end of the school year, we hope to give out our first few grants.”
Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers, also a member of the Foundation’s board, said the organization will make a noticeable difference throughout the city’s schools.
“If you look at any successful school system, it has a foundation,” Vickers said during an Aug. 11 interview. “We are very excited about it. We feel the foundation can really make a difference.”
The Foundation is working to build its first website, but it already has an “Alabaster City Schools Foundation” Facebook page and an email address at firstname.lastname@example.org for those interested in donating. The organization soon will distribute grant application forms to the city’s teachers and student organizations, Ramey said.
“Part of our membership will be invitation-only events. We want our members to be very engaged,” Ramey said. “We are very excited about it. We hope it will be a good resource for our teachers and for our students.”
The Foundation’s board includes Ramey, Scott Brakefield, Vickers, Adam Moseley, Norm Latona, state Sen. Cam Ward, Bobby Harris, Kerri Bell Pate, Karen South, Jamia Williams, Desaree Jackson, Neely Woodley, Brent Byars, Cena Davis, Dr. Larry Lemak and Derek Henderson.