It was a rainy day with no sign of letting up. That worried La Vernia Education Foundation (LVEF) board members as well as other community volunteers. They were expecting more than a thousand guests at their very first fundraiser: an outdoor country western concert they dubbed, Night in Ole La Vernia.
But as they say, the show must go on. Luckily, the skies cleared about an hour before the fundraiser began and the result was pretty fabulous. More importantly, in its first year, the Education Foundation was able to contribute $31,065 to La Vernia ISD teachers and classrooms, impacting every campus. And that, says LVEF president, Lacy Felux, is just the beginning. The bar has been set even higher for this year’s concert on May 13.
So, what is an education foundation? Although many school districts have one, a lot of parents don’t know what they are or do. In general, they are a nonprofit charitable organization that is volunteer based and run by a governing board. Their goal is to provide supplemental funding to a district that allows private donors and businesses to invest back into the school through special initiatives. More often than not, this takes the form of teacher grants, which go directly to a teacher’s classroom for resources they’d like, but don’t have campus funding to purchase.
“The La Vernia Education Foundation really started as a group of people who had a vested interest in the school district,” says Felux.
“I, personally, was a contributor to the District for several different projects and was constantly going to school board meetings to be able to make that contribution. I thought, there has to be a better way for individuals from the community and the general public to give money.
“I began researching and quickly realized that there are hundreds of districts across the state that have education foundations and wondered why we didn’t have one. So, I started to dig in and speak with the superintendent and school board about how we could get this pulled into the District.”
Once District approval was received, the new foundation was on its way, thanks to a group willing to commit to the idea and volunteer their time. They decided a concert would make the perfect fundraiser because it would serve as more than just entertainment. It would also help create a sense of community in a city that has undergone a lot of change in the past few years.
“La Vernia has experienced tremendous growth and many new faces. So, to have an event where you can provide an outlet for people to mix and mingle, while coming together for a great cause, is really ideal. It’s how you continue to build a strong sense of community,” Felux says.
This year’s concert will feature Lonestar, Dirty River Band, and Luke Prater. To learn more about the foundation and concert fundraiser, visit www.LaVerniaEducationFoundation.org, www.NightInOleLaVernia.com, or the Foundation’s Facebook page. And remember, the next time your school district hosts an education foundation-sponsored event, just know that it’s an easy way to give back to the community and its youth.