Cabarrus Education Foundation Director: $35,000 Fundraiser 'Amazing'
Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014 1:30 pm
Article and Photo by Michael Knox |
CONCORD, N.C. — Cabarrus Education Foundation’s first major fundraiser has raised more than $35,000 to help students in Cabarrus County schools, according to executive director Rachel Wilkes.
Over the years, the organization has had several small fundraisers, but this is the first major fundraiser the Cabarrus Education Foundation has organized, with 33 sponsors stepping forward to buy tables for a Sept. 17 luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tables ranged from $250 to $10,000, Wilkes said.
“I didn’t think, to be quite honest with you, that we would have the support that we’ve had so far,” Wilkes said. “It’s been amazing.”
The luncheon will showcase some of those projects, and will also include the choir from Jay M. Robinson High School performing and the centerpieces for the tables created by students at all the Cabarrus County Schools.
“We just really wanted to showcase all the tremendous talent we have in this district,” Wilkes said.
The luncheon has already raised $35,000, but Wilkes is continuing to raise money for Cabarrus Education Foundation.
She’s also had support, with Ellis Jewelers offering up a diamond necklace to be raffled off. The necklace is worth $1,295, and raffle tickets are $5 each. They can be purchased at Ellis Jewelers, 29 Union St S, Concord or at the Cabarrus Education Foundation, located at Cabarrus County Schools Education Center, 4401 Old Airport Road, Concord.
The $35,000 raised does not include raffle ticket sales or other, smaller fundraisers.
Funds are used to give out classroom mini-grants in Cabarrus County Schools and during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, Concord Education Foundation gave out $14,000 in grants to 31 applicants impacting more than 9,000 students.
Grants awarded range from $250 to $500, and some of those projects included helping bring hydroponic plant towers to Wolf Meadow Elementary School for their garden club; bringing a professional musician from the Charlotte Symphony to do master classes at Harris Road Middle School with their French horn section; repurposing Central Cabarrus High School’s outdoor patio area beside their library.
The organization also funded $500 for Michelle Hagle’s request to start a social book club for at-risk students at Concord Middle School. Hagle will be a speaker at the luncheon on Sept. 17 to talk about how much Cabarrus Education Foundation helps out in the community.
Based in the Cabarrus County Schools Education Center in Concord, Wilkes is the only employee hired since the Cabarrus County Education Foundation formed in 2001. The program was created by the late Roy Davis of S&D Coffee and Grace Mynatt, who was recently elected to the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners.
For years, the foundation had been run by a volunteer board, but eventually officials realized they needed to have at least one dedicated staff member to the program. Wilkes was hired for that role and started work Jan. 14.
Her primary responsibility is finding donors and raising funds to help the school system. She also wants to develop a scholarship program for students who would be the first person in their family to attend college.
Wilkes’ $67,000 annual budget goes toward awarding grants to teachers, with grants ranging from $250 to $500. They are currently taking applications for grants for the 2014/2015 fiscal year and the deadline is Oct. 14. Visit http://www.cabarruscountyeducationfoundation.org/programs/classroom-mini-grants to apply.
Wilkes said candidates who apply should look for projects that are unique and ones that can be used by students over multiple school years.
She said that with budget cuts on the state and local level, she hopes many teachers will look at Cabarrus Education Foundation as the nonprofit arm of Cabarrus County Schools to be able to help area teachers.
Wilkes is off to a good start, with the $35,000 raised from the luncheon.
“I’m very blessed,” Wilkes said. “I know after this event that we can take all these funds and put it back into the schools where it needs to be.”
Anyone wanting to help the Cabarrus County Education Foundation can make checks payable to the organization and send them to P.O. Box 388, Concord N.C. 28026. You can also visit www.ccefnc.org to make donations online.
Contact reporter Michael Knox at 704-789-9133.