By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
The county schools’ Student Investment Foundation (SIF) isn’t the biggest foundation in town yet — but it’s hopefully just a matter of time, according to vice-president JoAnne Minnitt.
Launched just three years ago, the donation-funded SIF provides grants and appropriations to Cullman County schools and teachers in an effort to fill the gap left behind by state budget cuts.
“The last two have been really successful, and we’re so happy we have businesses reaching out and individual parents as well to help fund the foundation,” Minnitt said. “We’re not to the point of being the [long-running] Wallace State Foundation, but we hope to grow to that point. We want to be able to meet some of the shortfalls school systems are suffering now.”
The group will celebrate its third annual dinner fundraiser tonight at 6 p.m. at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church inside Christ Hall. Tickets are $15 and include entertainment, dinner and a presentation from guest speaker Jeremiah Castille. Table sponsorships are available and include eight tickets.
Castille, a former University of Alabama and NFL football player, now spends much of his time hosting youth camps and working with his foundation to reach inner-city youth.
Minnitt said the annual dinner is the foundation’s largest fundraiser and helps generate revenue to distribute back into the school system.
“The purpose is to support Cullman County schools, specifically for students,” Minnitt said. “It was first organized trying to cover areas where we felt like there was a lack, such as the arts and sciences, but now we’ve started working in other areas to try and help as the state budget has been cut.”
To date, the foundation has raised nearly $100,000, much of which has been disseminated via grants and school appropriations.
For more information about the foundation contact T.J. Franey or Becki Klein at 256-734-2933 or 256-590-4803.
*Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.