Our goal at the BCEF is to enhance the education of all Brunswick’s students in significant ways. With many of the grants from our very first grant cycle still under way, we’ve really just begun, but by seeing the impact of similar, longer established organizations around the country, we know that the possibilities are tremendous. We are accumulating feedback and data from our grant recipients in various forms to evaluate the effectiveness of the initial round of grants so we can make smart decisions moving forward. Recently, we received a letter from Brunswick Junior High science teacher Jayme Sheheult that we found inspiring and has motivated us to keep the momentum going. He was the recipient of a grant for Aquaponics (check out our Grants in Action page to learn what that is) and was also a participant in another grant that involved multiple teachers. Check out his letter to get a feel for the impact your donations can have and are already having.
Welcome to BCEF’s newest Board Members
BCEF is excited to announce three new additions to our board, Peg Willauer-Tobey, Alex Pantaz and Steve Johnson.
Peg Willauer-Tobey, currently the Director of Annual Giving at the Chewonki Foundation has worked in and around schools her entire career. Her involvement has been through instructing alternative Outward Bound programs, leading a team in a Boston public school for City Year, and as a Brunswick School system parent for 13 years. She knows and lives the importance and value of creative and inspired education.
“I am thrilled to be part of the BCEF board. I hope to help help connect the community with the essential work of this group and to help raise funds in order to continue to make possible grants that enhance the education of Brunswick students. We have such talented teachers, I look forward to finding ways to help them continue to inspire our children.”
Alex Pantaz has three children in the public school system, and has been living in Brunswick for the past twelve years with his family. He is a Captain for JetBlue Airways and also served 20 years in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves.
“My children have had an amazing experience in our schools and I have been awed by their talented and dedicated educators. I had been looking for a way to give back when I learned of the BCEF during its initial fund drive last year and was inspired by its mission. It is a privilege to be a part of the BCEF and I look forward to the work ahead”
Steve Johnson has a daughter at Brunswick Junior High School and a son who will start kindergarten in the fall of 2016. Prior to his current role as stay-at-home parent, Steve worked in the development office at Bowdoin and as an attorney in Portland.
We gratefully acknowledge the service of former Board members Dana Bateman, Rick Wilson, James Ford, Jon Riggleman and Frank Strasberger, and look forward to the next chapter for BCEF and the current fall fundraising campaign and our grant cycle in Winter of 2016.
What does BCEF fund? Check out some Grants in Action for pictures and quotes!
Thank you to the Times Record for covering the news of the wonderful gift from Barry and Karen Mills. Read about it here at “Brunswick Community Education Foundation receives $40K“, and please check back soon for more news about our plans for fall 2015.
We were pleased to share this news with our Brunswick teachers before releasing it to our local news outlets on August 27. What a great way to kick off the school year, and our Fall 2015 fundraising campaign!
The Brunswick Community Education Foundation (BCEF) announced today that it has received a major contribution from Barry and Karen Mills. Totaling $40,000, the gift will be spread out over three years. The funds will provide critical support to the BCEF as the organization builds upon the remarkable success of its first year of grant funding.
Barry Mills recently retired after fourteen highly successful years as the President of Bowdoin College, while Karen Mills has received great acclaim on a national level as a business leader, a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, and a policy adviser. Barry and Karen Mills also share a deep admiration for Brunswick’s public schools, as their three children (William, Henry, and George) are all graduates of Brunswick High School.
In his role as Bowdoin’s President, Barry Mills often spoke eloquently about the importance of public education, and he lauded the quality of Brunswick’s schools in particular. In comments last fall, for instance, he described his children’s experiences in the town’s schools with one word: “phenomenal.” He noted that the quality of the schools is not merely a matter of interest to parents and current students: “maintaining the quality of those schools going forward is vitally important to the success of this community over the long term.” He also spoke powerfully and movingly of what he termed “the fundamental importance of teachers,” calling upon members of our community to “celebrate those great teachers, to let them know they are valued and supported as they seek to do their incredible, even life-changing, work in the classroom.”
In presenting their gift to the BCEF, Barry and Karen Mills praised the achievements made possible by the organization’s grants, and encouraged others in the community to do what they can to enhance educational opportunities for all of Brunswick’s students. “The members of the BCEF Board are grateful to President and Mrs. Mills for their exceptional leadership and generosity,” BCEF President Melissa Fochesato said. “We look forward to witnessing the powerful effect that their donation will have in Brunswick’s schools as these funds are put to use in the coming months.”