The Rye Fund for Education announced, at a reception in the Rye High School Media Center September 22, that it already received $370,000 in donations.
By Sarah Varney
The Rye Fund for Education announced, at a reception in the Rye High School Media Center September 22, that it already received $370,000 in donations. The fund will channel donations towards academics, arts, and athletics; donors can earmark their gifts.
In her opening remarks, Mary Payton Emery, president and trustee of the fund, said, “We’re proud of the impressive rankings of our schools but given the fiscal constraints imposed by the 2 percent tax cap the most immediate solution to make sure that our schools remain cutting-edge is this foundation.” She went on to stress that the foundation will not “cater to the needs of just one school.”
Up first on the fundraising agenda, is a project dubbed “Got a Brick?” aimed at creating a Garnets Courtyard alongside the breezeway connecting the new science wing at Rye High to the old building. Donors can dedicate paving bricks, planters, and benches ranging from $175 for a brick to $5,000 for a hardwood bench.
In addition to Emery, the Fund board is comprised of Kim Abate, City Councilman Richard Slack (spouse of School Board President Laura Slack), and School Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez, a non-voting member. Lora Katsikas will act as treasurer, and Board President Slack will serve as a liaison between the Board and the Fund. Midland parent Susan Giordano will oversee the Got a Brick? campaign.
Dr. Alvarez expressed his gratitude on behalf of the District. “We are thrilled that this is happening at a time when our fiscal constraints are becoming tighter.” He added, “A fund can actually strengthen ties in a community, sometimes between groups that you might not expect to work together.” In his previous position as superintendent in Montclair, New Jersey, Alvarez was involved in getting a foundation up and running that raises $500,000 a year.
The details on just how the monies will be distributed and the process by which proposals for projects and petitions for funds are handled are still in the planning stages although Emery did say, “Ideas can come from anyone.”
While the fund was incorporated March 1, 2013, the group’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was not granted until June 3, 2014. Emery thanked both Congressman Eliot Engel and Assemblyman George Latimer for helping the group push through a thicket of red tape to get their tax-exempt status.
What’s truly amazing is that the funds were raised in the last few weeks. And Emery was pleased to report that they received additional pledges this week.
Area schools that have similar foundations in place include Scarsdale, Chappaqua, Bronxville, Edgemont, and Harrison. Neighboring Harrison’s foundation has been in place for over 20 years.