Mounds View Schools Education Foundation’s 30th Birthday!
It was great to have Charter 621 Foundation member, Tom Watson, speak to our guests at the MVSEF's 30th Anniversary Celebration. Thanks to all who attended!
30th Anniversary Presentation
Thirty Years of Making a Difference in the School District
by Steve Yoch,
Board of Trustees and local author
The Mounds View Schools Education Foundation turns 30 this year. Like many 30-year olds, the Foundation has grown and evolved while supporting the District and its students. Over the years, the Foundation has become the water lifting generations of students.
Times were not always good. In the mid-1980s, the Mounds View School District was short millions of dollars in state and local aid. A group of concerned parents, educators, and community leaders wanted to assist the District. Educational foundations had begun emerging in other states at that time. “I do remember that foundations were so new in Minnesota and the U.S.A for K-12 public school districts that there were serious questions if they were even legal,” recalled then Superintendent, Burt Nygren.
At the October 14, 1985 school board meeting, a motion was made to establish a foundation that could serve as a “conduit for gifts and non-traditional sources of revenue for the district.” A steering committee was formed, led by Ann Haase, Joel Marquardt, Gerald McCauley, Gregory Ritter, Thomas Watson, Gregory Murphy, and Charles Diestler. On April 28, 1986, the Steering Committee recommended to the School Board that the District 621 Foundation be established with 501(c)(3) status. The Foundation’s initial mission was to provide micro grants to individual classrooms. Over the next two decades, thousands of students benefitted from the Foundation’s efforts.
In 2010, the “District 621 Foundation” was renamed the “Mounds View Schools Education Foundation.” The next year, the Foundation focused on a new unique opportunity -- ensuring that every Mounds View student would be permitted to take the ACT, regardless of financial resources. This program was spectacularly successful in opening the door to post-secondary education for Mounds View students. Indeed, the State of Minnesota in 2014 recognized the benefits of the Foundation’s efforts and funded the ACT for all Minnesota students during that year. “We are tremendously proud of everything the Foundation accomplished. As a result of its efforts, students throughout the state were provided the ACT at no cost,” says current Trustee and former Foundation Executive Director, Mindy Handberg.
Today, the Foundation continues to focus on students, including funding the High School STEM Career Fairs, Kindergarten Literacy Centers, the Equity Promise Scholarships, Laurentian Environmental Center program, and recently the Hoverman Scholarship. As the organization enters its third decade, it is also re-connecting with alumni. “Alumni represent both our past and our future. Their experiences and resources can benefit students now, while connecting friends and former classmates,” observes Jim DeMay, Trustee and Chair of the Alumni Committee.
“The Foundation is in a better position than ever as it looks ahead,” says Board President, Jonathan Weinhagen. “We have a terrific Executive Director in Heather Meyer and a dynamic Board of Trustees that are focused on a bright future, but we are also profoundly grateful for all those who have served and supported the Foundation over the last three decades.”
The Mounds View Schools Foundation is indebted to Cathy Skrip, who wrote “A History of the 621 Foundation” in 2007, portions of which are repeated above.