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Foundation hopes to raise awareness, and money

 

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During Christmas break, the Havre community will be treated to a double display of talent from alumni of Havre Public Schools.

The Havre Schools Alumni Extravaganza, in its second year, will take place on Dec. 27 and 28. In 2001, the concert showcased 14 different musical acts in one evening. This year, the performers will be split over the two nights and the musical performances will be combined with other talent acts, such as drama.

"We hope to create enough interest this year to have performances on both evenings," Kathie Newell, organizer of the event, said.

The extravaganza, a cooperative effort between the Havre Public Schools Education Foundation and the Northern Showcase, is just one of many ways the foundation is seeking to improve the opportunites for students and graduates of the Havre school district, Havre superintendent Kirk Miller said.

The foundation will receive half the proceeds from the concert, which will go into its general fund.

The foundation has used funds from its general fund to contribute to the Healthy Communities Healthy Youth Program, with $500 to help defray the cost of conducting the asset survey with area sixth- through 12th-graders.

In addition, the foundation contributed $1,000 to install lockers at the Mat Corner wrestling facility.

The foundation was created in 2000 as an independent, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization to raise and disburse funds for the continuing benefit of Havre students.

One of the main functions of the foundation is to manage memorial scholarships and provide a way for community members to make a tax-free donation in remembrance of family members.

"It's an opportunity to recognize loved ones in a way that will benefit the future," Miller said.

The foundation offers many different options for memorials and scholarships, from completely managing scholarship funds to merely providing a tax-exempt channel for scholarship funds, as its does for groups like the local P.E.O.

Donations to the foundation can be designated to specific educational causes, like the Ragnvald Endowment Fund, which provided $10,000 for the high school and middle school golf programs.

The emphasis is on donor choice, Miller said. He noted that there are other methods of contribution, like making annual pledges or creating a fund to provide for a specific need.

The foundation has established a memorial called Legacy of Kindness that provides for some basic needs of individual students. The fund was originated with dollars from the Ruth Erickson and Lucile Warford memorials and is used to purchase items like shoes, winter coats and other necessary items that some students may not be able to afford.

The 10 directors of the foundation make some decisions about the disbursement of funds, but more often they appoint committees that conduct research and offer recommendations to the directors.

A group of high school teachers, for example, assists the foundation in making decisions about college scholarship disbursements.

Money aside, the foundation strives to create community awareness and involvement in achieving its mission.

Ray Peck, a member of the foundation board of directors said a survey was conducted at several high school reunions and the results showed alumni were not aware of the efforts of the foundation.

Directors continue to provide information at class reunions in order to create awareness as well as raise funds.

"Friend-raising is considered just as important as fund-raising and it would be the goal of the directors to make the community aware of the efforts of the foundation so they may consider contributing time and/or resources to meet the current and continuing educational needs of students," Miller said.

For information on the foundation, contact Miller at 265-4356. To participate in the alumni concert, call Kathie Newell at 265-1144.

 
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