The Community Foundation of Boone County presented $50,000 grants to three Boone County school systems July 30, totaling a $150,000 donation before the scheduled start of an unprecedented academic year.
That morning, foundation members and community leaders surprised Zionsville Community Schools officials with one of the grants, bringing some school officials to tears. ZCS officials were instructed to not warn Western Boone County Community Schools or Lebanon Community School Corp. officials, who were presented similar grants later in the day.
“I think we shocked them,” said Jodi Gietl, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Boone County. “It was really moving for us. I’m so proud of our board of directors to see a need and just do an immediate funding of our grant money.”
Normally, the foundation invites county nonprofits to apply for grants during two funding cycles each year, but the board of directors deemed the needs of the county schools and “the best assets of our future,” the county’s children, deserving of any help the foundation could muster, Gietl said. The foundation has distributed an estimated $220,000 in grants to schools county nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ZCS Assistant Supt. of Academics Kris Devereaux stated, “This grant is tremendous and significant. With the situation being so fluid, this will allow us to be very responsive, should there be other urgent needs that come forward.”
Some officials from county school systems expressed an interest in buying more electrostatic foggers, devices that can quickly sanitize schools and buses, which could prove useful against more than just the new coronavirus.
ZCS Supt. Scott Robison stated, “This money will go to materials that we need and will have a lasting effect. We will be able to use some of the materials for future cold and flu seasons, and then we will see teacher and student attendance increase which will have lifelong effects.”