On Thursday night, May 9, members of the community will have their first big opportunity to learn more about the Old Forge School District’s new education foundation.
From 6-8 p.m., the foundation, known as The Foundry, will host an informational kickoff event at The Cellar at Cusumano, 432 S. Main St., Old Forge. Admission is free to the event, which will include complimentary pizza and appetizers and a cash bar.
There, attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the goals of The Foundry, and how to go about making a donation to the cause.
“We’re expecting a good crowd,” said Noah Katz, president of The Foundry’s advisory council. “We’ll have information packets and forms there for donations. We just want to get the word out and let people know what we’re all about. With the literature, they can see where the money is going, which is directly to the kids of the district.”
The Foundry — the name is a nod to Old Forge’s metal-forging past and a metaphor for the tools the foundation hopes to impart to students — was recently established with the idea of supplementing the district budget and allowing it to expand its offerings to students. Though the foundation will work alongside the school district, it will be a completely independent entity.
The brainchild of Old Forge Junior-Senior High School principal Christopher Gatto, the foundation received approval from the Old Forge School Board in the fall. Besides Katz, the advisory council includes Old Forge alumni of various ages and professional backgrounds.
The advisory council has drafted bylaws and set up a website and Facebook page. Gatto goes to all of The Foundry’s meetings but is not directly involved in its administration due to his district employment.
According to Katz, the foundation will fund projects not accounted for in the district budget. That list includes: classroom technology upgrades; dual enrollment scholarships for students looking to earn college credits; enhancements to the district Learning Store, which is staffed by special-needs students; the re-establishment of the district band program; and improvements for the district’s STEM and STEAM curriculum.
“Some of the projects are big-ticket items, while others are smaller-scale projects that could still have lasting benefits for the district,” Katz said.
Peter Quigg of Commonwealth Charitable Management has been hired to manage The Foundry’s perpetual endowment fund. Commonwealth Charitable Management will accept money from individuals and organizations to create endowments, special project funds, Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program funds (EITC) and Educational Improvement Organizations (EIO) that will directly benefit district students.
Each year, a percentage of the fund will be granted under the direction of the advisory council, who will perform an annual needs assessment to gauge the outstanding needs of the district. Meanwhile, a special projects fund will allow donors to direct tax-deductible donations to a specific project, and the EITC program and EIOs will allow businesses to support a wide variety of programming and improvements for as little as 6 to 7 cents on the dollar.
Obviously, the key to The Foundry’s sustainability will be active involvement by alumni and community members who see the value it will bring to the district.
“If you look at the history of Old Forge, it’s always rallied around its people. We think it’s only natural to rally around the district,” Katz said. “All of our money is going to educational purposes, and we think that’s going to resonate.”
If you go What: The Foundry Informational Kickoff Event
When: Thursday, May 9,6 -8 p.m.
Where: The Cellar at Cusumano, 432 S. Main St., Old Forge
Details: Admission is free to the event, which will include complimentary pizza and appetizers, as well as a cash bar. Donations to the foundation will be accepted. For more information, visit The Foundry’s website, educationalfoundation.ofsd.cc, or its Facebook page.