Beginning this month, new directors are serving on the Ceres Unified School District Foundation, a non-profit organization created to provide supplemental resources and scholarships to support Ceres students and teachers.
The foundation has been in operation since September 2004.
At its meeting on June 24 the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees approved the appointment of the CUSD Foundation Board for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
Stan Sinclear serves as the president and Mike Pratt as vice president. Dan Pangrazio, who is the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services for CUSD, is the Foundation Board’s chief financial officer. CUSD Supt. Denise Wickham is the foundation secretary.
Other members who were re-appointed are: community members Newby Herrick, Liz Hosmer, Del Ambris, Michiko Escobedo and Maria Del Valle. Others are: Amy Peterman CUSD’s Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services; La Rosa Elementary School Principal Lori Mariani; Central Valley High School Principal Carol Lubinsky and Ceres High School Principal Rita Menezes.
Only Wickham is new to the board.
The CUSD Foundation embodies the shared visions of the late Dr. M. Robert Adkison, founding superintendent of the Ceres Unified School District, community member Dave McConnell, and former superintendent Dr. Walt L. Hanline. Originally operating as two nonprofit foundations with complementary missions, the former Ceres Education Foundation merged with the CUSD Foundation in 2015. The current Board of Directors is representative of original members of the Ceres Education Foundation and the CUSD Foundation with Newby Herrick, Mike Pratt, Stan Sinclear and Liz Hosmer as the members with the most years of service.
The board’s function is to guide the activities of the CUSD Foundation related to raising and managing funds that support the mission of awarding scholarships to Ceres students, providing supplemental funding to enhance classroom lessons through a teacher mini-grant program, and various other activities.
Two annual events result in most of the funds raised for the CUSD Foundation. One is the fall fundraising dinner and auction event and the second is the spring raffle fundraiser that coincides with the Ceres Street Faire.
Since 2004, over $266,000 has been awarded to over 600 Ceres teachers through the CUSD Foundation Teacher Mini Grant program.
Since 2014 (when the CUSD Foundation began awarding scholarships), 145 students have benefited from $94,675 in scholarships.
Since its inception in 2012, the “Helping Students Today & Tomorrow” fundraiser has generated more than $159,603 to benefit Ceres students through scholarships and teacher-mini grants.
The annual Raffle fundraiser began in the spring 2008. Since that time, school sites directly benefited from $313,404 in ticket proceeds – used for a variety of school-based projects and activities. The CUSD Foundation raised $189,648 - that was then utilized to fund teacher mini grant projects and scholarships for Ceres graduates.
Many local merchants, businesses, service clubs and private citizens have also donated to the CUSD Foundation in support of the scholarship program and other activities, such as Sober Grad Night, Every 15 Minutes events and other school-based programs. Businesses, including Cost Less Foods, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Black Oak Casino have donated items for raffle and auction at each of the annual fundraising events.
In prior years, “Volunteers of the Year” and “Education Partners of the Year” were celebrated at the fall fundraising dinner event. This year on Oct. 15, this event will include donor recognition as part of the program, with more than 12 local business and individuals scheduled to be honored.
For more information related to this event, including event sponsorship and tickets, visit the CUSD Foundation website at https://ceresunifiedfoundation.org/