Schoolchildren with basic needs for clothing, school supplies, eyeglasses, hygiene supplies or help affording fees for field trips will benefit from a new endowment fund created by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation (LPEF).
For more than 20 years, LPEF has provided Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) funds to La Crosse public schools, allowing school staff to provide support discreetly to children in need, when they need it, with no questions asked and no application required. In the most recent full school year, RAK met a student need more than 2,400 times, allowing children to stay focused on school and to just to enjoy being a kid. Across 15 schools, the total cost for the RAK program is nearly $30,000 per year, and spending has been increasing.
LPEF has relied on annual fundraising from businesses and individuals to meet the need. Now, LPEF is creating the RAK Forever Fund – an endowment fund that will generate annual income to help offset the cost and make it easier to avoid limiting RAK spending due to fluctuations in fundraising.
The campaign goal is $400,000 – and LPEF announced Jan. 19 that more than $300,000 already has been raised during the quiet phase of the campaign, exceeding the original goal set by the LPEF Board of Directors.
A leadership gift of $90,000 came from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Other major community gifts or pledges have been received from: Altra Federal Credit Union, Coulee Bank, Sabina Bosshard, Dahl Family Foundation, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Elmwood Foundation, Fowler & Hammer Fund, Mayo Clinic Health System, Richard T. Record, Sue Anne Gelatt Foundation, Trane Family Foundation and Trust Point. In addition, donations have been made by all members of the LPEF Board, staff, and campaign leaders.
A permanently restricted fund has been established at Trust Point Inc., and only earnings on the principal will be used to support the annual RAK expenses. Amounts raised thus far will produce income to cover about half the annual cost, so every gift gets LPEF closer to full, long-term sustainability for the program.
About half of RAK funds each year go to basic needs like clothing, bedding, laundry, health exams, and hygiene supplies. A quarter of funds goes to transportation to and from school, and another quarter to fees to participate in extracurricular learning experiences, such as field trips.
Co-chairs for the RAK Forever Fund campaign are Dr. Tom Thompson and Roger LeGrand. Both served as members of the LPEF Board of Directors, and both are former members of the Board of Education. Other campaign committee members include: Scott Mihalovic, chairman of the LPEF Board Development Committee and former principal of Logan High School; Rochelle Nicks, past president of the LPEF Board; Sue Durtsche, a community volunteer and past LPEF board member; Amber Erickson, principal at Logan Middle School; Peter Grabow of Mayo Clinic Health System; Dr. Sigurd B. Gundersen of Gundersen Health System; Adrian Lipscombe, chef and owner of Uptowne Cafe; and Keonte Turner, member of the Board of Education. Staff support is provided by David Stoeffler, LPEF executive director, and Denise Vujnovich, LPEF grants coordinator.
Donate online by clicking on the button at left.
Or mail a check to: LPEF/RAK Forever Fund, PO Box 1811, La Crosse, WI 54602
In addition to Random Acts of Kindness funds, LPEF provides about $80,000 per year in Gold Star Grants to encourage innovation in classrooms, plus provides other programs to enhance learning opportunities for students in the School District of La Crosse and to promote support for public education. For more information, contact LPEF at 787-0226, or email David Stoeffler at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
RELATED MEDIA COVERAGE
La Crosse Public Education Foundation announces $400,000 campaign to secure help for kids • WXOW • Jan. 19, 2021
$400,000 fundraising campaign support Random Acts of Kindness in La Crosse schools • WKBT • Jan. 19, 2021
La Crosse’s Random Acts of Kindness Forever Fund • WLAX/WEUX • Jan. 19, 2021
Random Acts of Kindness: Foundation goes public with fundraising to assist local students • La Crosse Tribune • Jan. 19, 2021