Nonprofit Spotlight: Park City Education Foundation – Filling in the Funding Gap to Help Local Students Reach Their Life-Long Potential

With Utah routinely placing at the bottom of all states for per-pupil spending, the “It Takes a Village” mantra has been fully adopted by the residents and businesses of Park City, as evidenced by their support of the Park City Education Foundation (PCEF).

Founded in 1986, the mission of PCEF is to “help launch well prepared, curiosity driven, creatively inspired citizens of the world,” with the seven focus areas encompassing Academic Success, Wellness, College and Career Readiness, STEM, Early Childhood Education, The Arts, and Professional Development & Teacher Recognition.

During the 2019-20 school year, more than 100 programs will be funded by PCEF at the four elementary schools, Ecker Hill Middle School, Treasure Mountain Junior High and Park City High School, including Special Ed and DLI support, coding, National Ability Center Adaptive PE, Latinos in Action (LIA), academic fee waivers and mentor programs. District-wide programs include the Excellent Educator Awards and Teacher Grants. In total, PCEF has provided $11-million in program funding over the past 31 years, which accounts for 100% of the District’s discretionary funding.

Graphic credit: Park City Education Foundation

Within College and Career Readiness, the Bright Futures program helps guide first-generation college students up to – and through – higher education. With the college graduation rate for first-generation students at just 11%, Bright Futures connects with participants while in 10th grade stays with them until they successfully complete their college career. Tools such as financial planning,

An area PCEF funds in order to address a growing community need is the Park City School District Afterschool Program for kids in grades K-9. This program offers opportunities for students ranging from homework help to outdoor activities, all supervised and providing a safe place for approximately 450 students after the school day ends.

PCEF is also dedicated to providing funding directly to teachers and administrators by awarding more than $1-million annually in grants for classroom and school programs. “Express Grants” of $1,000 or less are also available, and must inspire students to reach their academic and lifelong potential in the areas of Academic Success, The Whole Child and/or Innovation.

One Book, One Community,” a program created by the American Library Association (ALA), encourages community-wide literacy by focusing on one book each year, with that book’s author visiting students at Treasure Mountain Junior High and Park City High School, in addition to participating in a community conversation open to the public. Past authors include Garth Stein (“The Art of Racing in the Rain”), Daniel James Brown (“Boys in the Boat), and Camron Wright (“The Rent Collector”). This year’s book is “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind,” by William Kamkwamba, and will include events on Oct. 8 & 9. This will be the 11th author visit presented by PCEF.

Running with Ed, Park City’s most entertaining relay race, takes place each May and raises significant funding for PCEF programs. (Photo credit: Park City Education Foundation/Running with Ed)

Finally, one of PCEF’s most high-profile events – and one I had the honor of co-chairing in 2019 and will be again in 2020 – is Running with Ed, which is a 38-mile relay race comprised of 10 legs traveling between each of the District’s seven school locations, with participants dressing up in fun costumes and enjoying themed gatherings at each of the school stops. I’m proud to report this year’s event raised $280K, and encourage you to participate when it returns on May 16, 2020!

Want to support PCEF’s many initiatives? There are simple ways, including the Foundation’s “Give $180” program, which represents a donation of just $1 per day of the 180 school days each year (and if you give before Oct. 5, you’ll get out of receiving call during their Phone-A-Thon). Donors at $1,000 or more annually can become members of the “Scholar Circle,” while “Golden Apple Sponsors” provide sustaining gifts of $50,000 or more. And – because Park City LOVES a party –  the annual Red Apple Gala has become one of the hottest event tickets in PC ( though this year’s event on Sept. 7 is sold out, keep an eye out for next year’s on-sale date by signing up for the PCEF newsletter here).

There are many reasons people Choose Park City, but the community support of its vibrant nonprofits definitely tops the list! Connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or  by visiting her website by clicking here to learn more about the many amazing nonprofits that make this community one of a kind!

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