Fund-raising foundation short of board members

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Eight years after its initial formation, the Cape Girardeau Public School Foundation is struggling to meet its goals due to a lack of volunteers.

The foundation, which originally formed in 1995, was created to enhance and support Cape Girardeau students by providing funds for instructional and co-curricular programs.

"The foundation is at a standstill. Right now, our most pressing need is board members," said board member Sharon Mueller. "We need people with a little time and a big interest in local schools."

Mueller said there are currently four vacancies on the board, which meets once a month to work on fund-raising strategies.

Foundation board member and treasurer Paul Schermann said he feels it's important for the community to support the local district, but he realizes that most people feel tapped out when it comes to giving.

"It's hard for people to give in this day and age," said Schermann.

"But it's a good cause. The schools are need funding. There are certain things students need that schools just can't afford."

Don Zimmer serves as the foundation's president. There are currently eight people serving on the 12-member board; board members generally serve 2-year terms.

After raising money for a new track at the former Central High School campus in 1995, the organization dissolved. In 2001, the foundation reconvened, and since that time has raised nearly $250,000 for the local school district.

Last year, money raised by the foundation allowed the school district to purchase several items that had been cut from the budget to accommodate the new Central High School.

School supplies

While most of those items were sports related -- scoreboards, soccer lights and track equipment -- Mueller said the foundation wants to enhance academic and other non-athletic programs as well.

To do that, the foundation relies solely on donations from the community. The organization has no paid employees, so members and their services are what allow the foundation to operate.

"The community is only as good as its own school system," said Mueller. "By participating, people will not only help schools, but they'll promote unity and cohesiveness in the community."

At its last fund raiser -- a dinner and dance held in November at the Cape Country Club-- the foundation pulled in $14,000. The group is currently planning a bunko tournament fund raiser for March.

For more information about the Foundation, call 651-0555.

335-6611, extension 128

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