By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
With his final term winding to a close this year, long-time Cullman County Board of Education member Steve Freeman has seen a lot of initiatives start and stop over the years. But, as the Student Investment Foundation (SIF) barrels into its third year with more momentum than ever, he’s glad to see it shouldn’t be among them.
The Foundation held its third annual dinner fundraiser Tuesday night, raising $22,600, which will be used to award grants to teachers for equipment and projects.
“What I see is the community involvement, and the more we do this the more impact it will have on our students as it grows,” Freeman said, joined by fellow board members and administrators waiting tables. “The community is really getting behind this and I believe it could be something truly special in the years to come.”
To date, the Foundation has raised over $100,000, which is disseminated several times per year via a grant application process for teachers.
The Thursday night event attracted approximately 400 people, with guest speaker Jeremiah Castille and a silent auction filled with student art work.
SIF vice-president JoAnne Minnitt said the dinner was a huge success, and is close to packing out the event’s home at St. John Church in downtown Cullman.
“We’re growing so much we’ll be running out of space,” Minnitt said. “But, it’s such a great cause.”
Superintendent Billy Coleman said the event represented the community’s willingness to support the school system, and he believes the Foundation is just getting started in its quest to fill the funding gap left behind by state budget cuts.
“This is a tremendous effort to help the Cullman County school system,” he said. “The money goes directly to the classroom to help our students be the best they can be. I think we have a chance, right now, to make a difference in the lives of children who will be a part of a generation to face some of the biggest challenges in this country.”
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.