By Rob Montana
Non-profit organizations are plentiful throughout Tompkins County, and make a big impact in our communities. Despite their contributions, area non-profits can sometimes go unnoticed or unknown. In an effort to shine a spotlight on those who are making a difference in our county, Tompkins Weekly will be showcasing these organizations on a regular basis.
This week we are highlighting the TCSD Foundation, an organization aimed at supporting the Trumansburg Central School District. To learn more about the organization, we interviewed Jen Wofford, president of the foundation.
Tompkins Weekly: What is your mission?
Jen Wofford: The mission of the TCSD Foundation is to:
— Enhance pre-K through 12 educational and extracurricular opportunities in the district.
— Forge partnerships with friends of the Trumansburg Central School District.
— Raise funds and award grants to foster personal growth and encourage excellence.
TW: How do you fulfill that mission?
JW: The TCSD Foundation fulfills this mission through fundraising and administrative coordination of recurring educational programs, championing new educational initiatives that respond to the needs and desires of the school district community, and through strong and effective collaboration with the school district administration.
TW: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces?
JW: The Foundation coordinates the Kids Discover the Trail program in Trumansburg, where every student (pre-K through 6th grade) visits a site on the Discovery Trail and teachers integrate the DT trip into their curriculum. The Foundation raises funds for the district-wide Youth Art Month, as well as teacher-initiated projects through our Teachers Grant Program. It produces the student-authored district newspaper, the Trumansburg Troubadour, and sponsors lessons in journalism to students of all ages. Although many families are aware of the programs we support, fewer are aware that the Foundation is the force behind them. As new families are always entering the district, we are faced with the ever-present challenge of communicating who we are and welcoming new volunteers … and new donors.
TW: What is something people do not know about your organization?
JW: The TCSD Foundation funds innovative, teacher-inspired programs that fall outside of the school budget. The school district administration – principals and superintendents – are engaged in the foundation’s programming and at every step show their support of what we do, but the foundation is not directly affiliated with the school district, its budget process, or policies. The Foundation is not about filling gaps in the school budget. We fund fresh, experimental programs that tax dollars do not.
TW: How can people best support your mission?
JW: Get involved! The Foundation relies on volunteers committed to enriching the educational opportunities in the Trumansburg school district and the surrounding community. We have committees dedicated to communication and outreach, event coordination, programming, fundraising, and even managing volunteers. If you’re interested, let us know. And of course, we accept donations online at tcsdfoundation.org. Any amount helps. Spread the word!