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Bibb Schools creates foundation to foster community growth

Running a school can be expensive. Library resources, textbooks and other instructional materials, education centers and services and more are all examples of spending in schools.
Costs add up, and non-necessities like books or prizes for positive behavior intervention get cut from the budget. The Bibb County Education Foundation provides a solution.
Established in 2021, the Bibb County Education Foundation provides monetary support where federal funds cannot, and fosters community by enhancing educational opportunities and allowing businesses, individuals and organizations to get involved with the school district.
“Almost a year ago, the school district was exploring ways that we would be able to provide additional resources to our students and our teachers, as well as a way to partner with our community to give back to the school district,” said Lori Rodgers, assistant superintendent of district effectiveness and federal programs and president of the Bibb County Education Foundation.
The district also saw opportunities for donors to contribute, and the foundation became a way to seamlessly do so while also receiving the tax credit. However, while fundraising is important, the priority of the foundation is to foster community, Rodgers said.
Some ways that the foundation does this is through recognizing and rewarding teachers and leaders, partnering with local businesses and organizations, and cultivating student development through education programs, classroom projects and scholarship funding.
“This could be a way for us to develop our alumni relations through our foundation, meaning that we will be able to have a partnership with the business community and other community organizations that are looking to donate back to the school district monetarily, so that we can then be able to provide funding for teacher-based projects, small projects within classrooms, as well as reward teachers for their work,” Rodgers said.
Donors can decide what their money goes toward, such as one donor who donated money for winter coats during the cold months or another who provided funding for equipment for Central High School’s baseball team. Otherwise, donations can also go toward the operating costs of the foundation itself.
“We’re fairly new, as you probably are aware, so we’re working very hard right now to get our strategic plan together and then be able to communicate that to the community and then start our inaugural campaign for the foundation,” Rodgers said.
The foundation is a work in progress as its board of directors works to put together a strategy for the future and build its website so donors can donate online. The website should be up within the next few months, but until then, donations can be made by calling the school district or Stephanie Hartley, Bibb School District communications director and secretary for the foundation.
If you’re looking to get involved, the foundation will be having a kickoff event in late spring or early summer, which will become their annual donor-ask, Rodgers said. The foundation will also be working with the school district to plan the 150th anniversary of the Bibb County School District, where donations can also be made.
— Hannah Elmore

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