Foundation aims to spare half of  Enterprise’s K-12 art program

<p>The Enterprise Education Foundation's Cindi Aschenbrenner (left) and Enterprise School District Board Chair Kevin Melville look over a $25,000 donation check from the Foundation to support the arts at Enterprise schools.</p>

ENTERPRISE – The next goal of the Enterprise Education Foundation, which has raised about $750,000 since that nonprofit was formed in 1996, is to bring back half of Enterprise District #21’s art program.

On Feb. 6, the district school board pruned more than $100,000 from its 2012-2013 budget, courtesy of a funding shortfall at the state level, and suddenly the district’s entire art program was gone.

Although the Foundation only can make recommendations on how money it gives to the district is spent, Foundation vice president Mike Wiedeman says that group is committed to give $62,000 to the district for the coming year. Recommendations on how that money may be spent include $37,000 to revamp the school’s art program to half-time status and $25,000 for elementary music.

This won’t be the first time the EEF has funded the art program for the district. Wiedeman says the Foundation funded half of the art program for about five years, most recently in 2010-2011.

Through the years the EEF has funded everything from a flagpole to physical equipment to teacher salaries for such programs as agriculture, shop, and home economics; some programs of which the Enterprise School District went on to fund itself.

The only time the district doesn’t control how money from the Foundation is spent is when funds are donated or granted for “earmarked” purposes.

During the course of a year, the Enterprise Education Foundation generates funds from four basic sources, and the event that annually brings the most money to Foundation coffers will be held next month.

On Friday, April 13, the Foundation’s annual “We Love Our Kids” dinner-auction will be held at Cloverleaf Hall with an ambitious goal to raise $37,000 for the K-12 art program.

The second biggest source of revenue for the Foundation comes through the Escript Program held by Safeway. Wiedeman says that year-round program generates about $14,000 for the EEF, a body that gives all its proceeds to the Enterprise School District. Through that program, says Weideman – to which any nonprofit can join – participating nonprofits encourage Safeway customers at any Safeway store to register so that a percentage of their purchases is directed to the identified nonprofit. He says presently there are about 450 people signed on to that program for the Enterprise Education Foundation.

Although money donated to the Foundation fluctuates year to year, Weideman says that funding source can range as high as $25,000 in a given year and normally averages about $8,000 to $10,000 annually.

In addition, the Foundation earns about $1,000 to $2,000 per event in a special series of events it stages annually, says the group’s vice president. Included among those events in the past year were two basketball tournaments sponsored by Sterling Bank, Turkey Bingo sponsored by Community Bank, and Casino Night, staged in conjunction with the Elks’ Crab Feed.

The Enterprise Education Foundation’s five founding members were Weideman, Roy Garten, John Hillock, Jim Dawson, and Randy Strohm.

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