Bill Corbin, Board President of the Union City Education Foundation.
In a pay-it-back, pay-it-forward mindset
Sharing an opportunity for alumni and friends to make a real difference.
Here are pictures worth a thousand words. Students K-12 once carried a few books in a backpack. Now they need computers, programmable robots, and will face emerging technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence, data science, and latest internet infrastructure.
Hands-on knowledge of these technologies is vital for students to prepare for advanced education and the future job market where tens of millions of new jobs will be created.
For a small public school, teaching emerging technologies is required to assure students will be competitive with students from large-city school districts. Here is blunt reality:
Without additional financial assistance, small-town school budgets simply cannot afford the curriculum updates and related support infrastructure necessary to assure fully competitive students.
Our Foundation will build funds that proactively support the curriculum upgrades and related infrastructure and teacher effectiveness programs that allow Union City to compete with or outperform schools of any size.
Beginning in 2015, the Union City Alumni Association expanded its mission to include supporting Teacher Grants -- initiatives suggested by individual teachers but not supportable within current budget constraints. This highly successful program has funded nearly 100 individual projects, has helped Union City earn national recognition for K-12 adoption of STEM curricula, and has improved teacher morale -- and it helped us realize we were only scratching the surface of potential ways to help the school in the big-picture challenge of addressing constantly changing curriculum needs.
We've learned that alumni (and friends) will consider substantial donations for curriculum-level education needs, but a Foundation is the organizational structure required to professionally ask for, receive and manage large dollar amounts.
The resulting organization is the best of both worlds. America's most active Alumni Association, intact and operating as a standing committee within the new Foundation.
In good economic times and bad, School leadership has maintained a can-do culture and our teachers have delivered quality education that has helped UC students accomplish great things in their lives and careers.
It's a tough job. Our teachers are not highly paid. Our Teacher Grant program was inspired, in part, by the truth that many teachers spend their own money to bring ideas to life in the classroom. The Covid-19 pandemic has added new demands and new stress.
The Foundation was inspired by awareness that teacher skill and dedication is not enough. Our teachers must have curricula, tools and training that assure they are able to prepare students for the changing needs of 21st Century education.
The Teacher Grant program was a start. Now we need to climb higher, whether our individual goals are to pay it back, pay it forward, or make a difference in our home town.
Visiting alumni who remember "the good old days" in Union City are saddened by the evident impact of the plant-closing era. But our historically resilient town is making a spirited comeback, and the educational system is a vital element of the revitalization effort.
Shown here is the rendering for Vision Corner, planned replacement of the long-time eyesore at the northeast corner of Columbia and Pearl. Multiple high-school entrepreneurial activities, including downtown studios for KISS-TV and an Apache Design retail center. Students will have an incredible live learning opportunity in multiple aspects of communication, business operation and entrepreneurship. A Ball State Letterman Center working partnership has been established, giving the project a valuable resource and serious educational gravitas.
The city owns and is refurbishing the building. The build-out of education equipment and infrastructure is an excellent example of a Foundation's ability to make a major difference. In this case, including the possibility of a regional vocational center.
This 5 minute video is "optional" if the above info makes clear the changing needs. But it's a strong trip down memory lane that traces Donor Support from the 1950s to present.
The video below this one defines the "Funds Structure" that puts dollars to maximum work.
This structure will evolve over time, but this video makes clear that we are addressing student scholarships, teacher projects and morale, introduction of important technologies and the kind of Visionary projects that Vision Center represents.
The LAUNCH Phase Allows Immediate Action and Establishes Momentum:
The LAUNCH Phase Provides Flexible Seed Dollars, Usable as Needed
NEXT STEPS: The form below supports donation by credit card or mailed check.
Just as importantly, it includes an invitation for dialog:
Your questions, comments, goals and ideas.
Action1: $25 - $99
Action 2: $100 - $249
Action 3: $250 - $499
Action 4: $500 - $999
Impact 1: $1.000 - $2,499
Impact 2: $2.500 - $4,999
Impact 3: $5.000 - $7,499
Impact 4: $7,500 - $9,999
Vision 1: $10,000 - $24,999
Vision 2: $25,000 - $49,999
Vision 3: $50,000 - $99,999
Vision 4: $100,000 +
It seems that most of the Foundation emphasis is on ACTION, support of specific projects. Are you not building a permanent endowment?
For a small, purpose-focused foundation it is not possible to build a large enough funds balance to provide meaningful short-term support from income on capital. In today's low-returns era, a million dollars might yield less than $30,000 per year of usable funds. By contrast, a million dollars with a ten-year usage plan provides $100,000 per year.
Our mission also supports the possibility of engagement in major educational initiatives that large donors might underwrite over a year or two.
How do you assure adequate funds for the future?
The concept of a ten-year timeframe is not a "fixed-in-time concept." Fundraising efforts are continuous. It does say that no donor is smart enough to anticipate funding requirements 50 years from now, because of changing needs and the certainty that inflation will erode the value of endowed balances.
Equally helpful is donor generosity via estate bequests and other planned giving, providing a stream of income that will be realized decades from now.
What if I'm ready now, before your launch period is over, to discuss an estate bequest or planned giving?
We are prepared to work with you now!
Will the Foundation work with me on an endowed, income-only scholarship program?
Yes. The School's scholarship committee has handled scholarships of every type for decades. We have made that category of service part of the Foundation's capability. We only ask that you consider whether your dollars could make greater impact by an alternative usage plan that still focuses on scholarships. Your decision will be honored in every way.