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Perquimans foundation adds opportunities for students

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Brenda Lassiter

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From staff reports

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

When the Perquimans County Schools Foundation was established almost two decades ago, board members were looking to raise additional money for programs and projects for students in the local school district.

Executive Director Brenda Lassiter stressed, however, that is definitely not the only reason why you should have a school foundation.

“In addition to the financial benefits, a foundation also engages the community in the process of improving the local schools and gives citizens another avenue to make their voices heard,” she said.

Lassiter said a school foundation should be a positive public relations tool for the school district. Lassiter is very familiar with positive public relations, as she retired in 2013 following a 20-year stint as the public relations officer for the local school district.

“It is important for the foundation to have a positive image as it works to build a new audience of ambassadors and supporters (donors) for the schools,” Lassiter said.

Some examples of those giving to our students include recent contributions from local supporters and individuals and businesses across the country that helped with the production costs for the 2018 performance of The Wizard of Oz by the PCHS Drama and Theater Department, along with considerable dollars given to the music and art programs within the school district.

The 15-member volunteer board for the Perquimans County Schools Foundation works to build bridges to new non-parent audiences, including single people, empty-nesters, senior citizens, and retired employees of the school district, non-community leaders, high school alumni, community groups and other foundations. The board looks to attract additional funds and other resources, often from outside of the community and provides a legal, professional mechanism to collect and administers funds.

Lassiter says that she often seeks and applies for grants that the school district is not eligible to submit since they (schools) are not classified as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Grant dollars have been received to fund a Kinesthetic Classroom at Hertford Grammar School, Water Turtles (swim lessons for all kindergarten students) of Perquimans Central School and WIFI for activity buses for the entire school district.

Most recently, Lassiter submitted a grant for a Mobile Veterinarian Service to provide hands-on learning for students at PCHS and another Kinesthetic Classroom for Perquimans Middle School. These grant announcements will come in November.

In addition to funding for programs and projects, the Foundation Board now oversees five endowments, totaling $600,000. The following annual scholarships are awarded through the endowments: The Walker & Marjorie Rayburn Educational Scholarship; The Madelyn M. Byrum Those Who Give Back Scholarship, The John and Betty Crawford Science Scholarship, The Jeanne C. White Education Scholarship and finally a $10,000 Endowment which helps with administrative costs of the Foundation. The Foundation Board also manages about 20 scholarships, given annually by generous individuals with ties to our community.

Memorial contributions also continue to grow – especially in memory of loved ones who pass away that attended or graduated from Perquimans County High School. These dollars are often restricted to the Athletic Complex or other specific projects.

The board is encouraging others to give to the Foundation through memorial gifts, class reunion events, in honor of someone’s birthday or whatever the special occasion may be. These dollars stay in our county and support our students and staff.

Among foundation officers, Antoine Moore currently serves as president, with Todd Kemp serving as vice president. Other board members include: Matthew Cheeseman, Lisa Lane, Dina Hurdle, Jared Harrell, Sid Eley, Pam Hurdle, Jeff Moreland, Archie Aples, Leary Winslow, Natalie Brown, Cody Lamb, Teresa Blanchard and Phil Johnson. Brenda Lassiter serves as Executive Director.

Donations can be made to help support the School Foundation and any of its programs and projects by mailing a contribution to Perquimans County Schools Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 337, Hertford, N.C. 27944.

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