Love Lakota schools? There’s a new way to give back

A new endowment launched by the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty aims to create a sustainable source of funding to be utilized by Lakota schools leadership to support programs not allocated in the budget.

The Lakota Fund was originally established in 2004 to support Lakota teachers in their efforts to bring innovative teaching tools and programming to the classroom through small grant awards. The new Lakota Fund Endowment was established this year as a renewed partnership between the Community Foundation and Lakota schools, according to Erin Clemons, the foundation’s executive director.

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“We thought we would partner together with Lakota schools based on the (foundation’s) Community Needs Assessment to try and help start the Lakota Fund Endowment,” Clemons said. “It’s something that will be there forever to build upon for the future and sustainability of our education in this community.”

To date, the Lakota Fund has awarded more than $60,000 in grants to fund projects such as educational iPad apps and classroom technology, ESL curriculum, early childhood music and art programming, and after-school tutoring workshops, among many others.

The endowment is a way for people who love Lakota schools and the local communities of West Chester and Liberty townships to “give back and make an impact not just today, but 100 years from now,” Clemons said.

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Teachers and faculty may support The Lakota Fund through a small payroll deduction, allowing the Lakota community to pool their resources to improve educational opportunities for students.

Examples of recent project funded through The Lakota Fund include:

  • Barbershops, Books & Boys Program, which aims at boosting reading literacy and self-confidence through engaging both students and family members (2016)
  • Language Arts & Science Integrated Curriculum at Hopewell Junior School (2016)
  • DeskCycle Pedals, a Cherokee Elementary program that aims to improve attention and behavior impulse control (2016)
  • A preschool music program at Liberty Early Childhood School (2017)

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More than $23,000 was raised for The Lakota Fund Endowment by Community Foundation guests Sept. 9 at the foundation’s 24th annual Key Event during the Fund-A-Need portion of the live auction, according to Karen Gibbs, the foundation’s director of programs and marketing.

“We’re excited to partner with (Lakota) Superintendent Matt Miller to rally the community behind our schools and teachers to provide the best education for students,” Gibbs said.

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