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.”
We were thrilled to talk with Lorry Fleming, Coastal Journal Contributor, about our history, mission, fundraising plans and exciting projects from 2015. Some of our favorite quotes from the resulting article were from our teachers, such as Coffin’s Eric Funderburk, who received $1,000 for books and Brunswick Junior High’s Carla Shaw, who received $2,400 for her team”s expeditionary unit.
“Books have always been a costly expense … teachers are always looking for quality texts for their classroom libraries,” Funderburk said. “Considering the need to integrate literacy with content areas, this was an ideal place to start. I picked books that were age appropriate, and proposed that we get informational texts that were directly linked to our social studies and science curriculum, with enough books for every classroom in our first grade and multi-age (first/second grade) classrooms. I’m optimistic that these books will be used for years to come, which will translate to over 1,000 different children having access to these books over a five-year span.”
“The Connect to Casco Bay expeditionary unit ran from mid-May to mid-June,” Shaw said. “The BCEF made it possible for our students to do hands-on research and experiments, and become involved with and aware of the delicate balance of our relationship with Casco Bay.”
The end of another school year – and many families are looking for a way to show their appreciation for the wonderful work of Brunswick’s teachers, administrators and school staff who do such a great job every day. Consider a donation in their honor to BCEF! We will be sure to send a letter letting your honoree know a gift has been received, and that this tax-deductible gift will help BCEF support our teacher’s ideas and creative visions through our grant-making process. You can donate in a number of ways, and please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Thank you for your support.
On behalf of the second grade teaching team at Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Lancaster submitted a grant to bring Wind Over Wings to all the second graders at HBS! This grant augments and extends second grade’s animal studies curriculum. The kids had a wonderful time, asked many questions where it was clear they were “thinking like a scientist”, and were a curious and excited audience. Thank you to the teachers, the amazing Wind Over Wings instructors, and all our generous donors who made this program possible. In the clip below, the students learn just how silent an owl can be when hunting!