Milford Education Foundation forming to raise funds and promote education

Milford boasts a strong PTA at its city schools, a PTA Council, and a parent/faculty group that serves the two high schools, and now there is another group forming to address school needs: the Milford Education Foundation.

Representatives of the new  group attended last week’s Board of Education meeting to present an overview of their goals, which include fund raising for school causes, and to request that a school board member be named as a liaison to their group.

Emmeline Harrigan spoke on behalf of the Education Foundation. Harrigan is the city’s assistant city planner. She also is a graduate of Jonathan Law High School and has children in the school system.

“We recognize that a thriving education is crucial to a community’s quality of life,” Harrigan said,  explaining the reason a group of residents gathered to form an education foundation.

An education foundation is an organization make up of concerned citizens who want to raise funds for programming and promote education in their community, according to literature the group provided.

“A strong education system is a strong Milford,” Harrigan said.

Education foundations have a board of directors and an executive board, who are all volunteers. Harrigan said the next step for Milford’s Education Foundation is to elect a board and complete paperwork to become an official not-for-profit group.

The foundation will not look to raise money to offset the school budget but will focus its efforts on providing mini grants for new educational programs and initiatives.

For example, in Wallingford, that town’s education foundation paid for a video program, a school newspaper, a digital media project, and a Smart Board music system.

In Groton, a foundation paid for a school hiking club trip and an interdisciplinary unit on whales.

There are 80 towns in Connecticut with an education foundation. The foundations’ key goal is to improve schools and increase community involvement within schools.

Milford Board of Education member Susan Glennon said she favored the creation of a Milford Education Foundation and said residents tried to start one about 10 years ago but it didn’t get off the ground.

She had some concern about fund raising though, and wanted to be sure the foundation wouldn’t compete with fund-raising efforts already carried out by the school PTAs.

Harrigan said she didn’t believe there would be competition and that the PTAs and foundation could collaborate on projects.

“For example,” according to literature Harrigan distributed, “Windsor’s education foundation worked together with the Clover Street PTA on a joint project to bring the ‘Clover Street School Hosts 5th Grade Poetry Slam’ to its city.”

The school board voted to name a liaison to the Milford Education Foundation once it has completed its formation.