The Tri-Creek Education Foundation is on a mission to promote and fund educational excellence and innovation for students in the Lowell school corporation through community philanthropy.
So says Luan Brown, the organization's president.
The foundation was born in 2001 after Cheryl Rosevear wanted to put her stipend for serving on the Tri-Creek School Corp. Board of Trustees to use for educational purposes, Brown said.
Since then, it has offered scholarships to students and grant opportunities for teachers.
In 2019, it will disburse more than $101,000 worth of scholarships in varying amounts. Each has specific requirements, and some are available only to students in specific fields such as education and agriculture.
Tri-Creek teachers also can apply for grants each year for various programs. Brown said up to $20,000 in grants have been awarded annually.
“The grant committee enjoyed reviewing the applications that highlighted wonderful projects that would bring excellence and innovation into classrooms,” Lynne Haberlin, a foundation director and chairwoman of the organization's grant committee, said when the 2018 recipients were announced. “Strong community support enables us to fund a variety of projects that will positively affect student learning.”
Lake Prairie Elementary School teacher Sheryl Buche was among those who received a grant last year.
Buche used the $1,525 she received for the Kindergarten Coding Club, in which pupils learn how to program robots to handle different activities and tasks.
Lake Prairie teacher Mia Kouros and several others used 2018 grants to expand robotics teams to help students gain experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities.
At Oak Hill Elementary School, teachers Kassie Helsel, Amanda Montez and Wendy Wright received $672 for a study trip to Buckley Homestead in Lowell that allowed fourth graders to learn about pioneer life. The students experienced the type of school work, chores and challenges children faced in the 19th Century.
“Grant requests are submitted at the beginning of the school year and awarded at the November school board meeting,” Brown said.
Students have to submit scholarship applications by the spring.
“The (scholarship) committee interviews qualified applicants, and the recipients are announced at Senior Night in May,” Brown said.
“The majority of the scholarships are funded by individuals and organizations outside of the Education Foundation, but we handle everything else involved,” she said.
The Ruth and Joe Weinberg estate, for one organization, has provided significant financial support for the organization, including the Ruth Dahl Weinberg Memorial Scholarship. Weinberg, a lifelong Lowell resident, taught in the Tri-Creek School Corp. for decades.
“Donations are appreciated in any amount,” Brown said, “We pride ourselves on being good stewards of all donations and comply with all donor wishes.”
Besides the annual Lowell Labor Day Weekend 5K run/walk — set for Aug. 31 (register at runsignup.com) — Brown said the organization has found other ways to raise financial support for local education.
“We have an endowment fund with the Crown Point Community Foundation, and we invested some of what we inherited from Ruth and Joe Weinberg,” Brown said.
Those interested in supporting the Tri-Creek Education Foundation can visit t-cef.org or call 219-750-1262.