Over the past several years, The Mason Public Schools Foundation has donated $420,000 to the district and in November of 2016, donated $71,000. The Mason foundation was started in 1984 and now has an annual $30,000 commitment to the schools to fund technology-related purchases. This is possible because local events raise money and sponsors donate money. The foundation raises money from grants, mail campaigns, events and from donations. Two big events that happen every year are the Red Carpet Gala Dinner and the Commercial Bank Mason 5k Run/Walk.
Foundatuion Board Member Lisa O’Connor said, at “the Red Carpet Gala Dinner and Auction, we raised more than $46,000 in 2017, and Commercial Bank Mason 5K Run/Walk, raised approximately $20,000 in 2016.”
The dinner takes place every February, and the 5K run/walk happens every May. This year the run/walk will be going on its 29th year. It will take place May 5. Anyone can register to participate in the event by going online to masonpsf.org and filling out the registration form.
Carrie Geyer, board president, said, “We typically have around a thousand runners and it really is a community event.”
The Red Carpet Gala has been helping the district since 2011. In 2013, the gala raised $20,000. In 2016, it hit a record $48,000. This year, the gala raised more than $46,000. Each year at the gala a Top Dog Award is presented to a person or organization. This year, that award went to the Mason Optimist Club for its continuous support and donations.
Geyer said, “Nearly 100 percent of the money we raise goes right back to the schools. This funding is used for things current school budgets can’t always support, as they are ever-increasingly stretched thin.”
Geyer said the schools have used the money for computers, iPads, robotics equipment, Chromebooks and more.
Kim Hass, another foundation board member, said it gave $71,000 to the schools in November. “This most recent donation … represents a nearly 13 percent increase over last year’s donation of $63,000.”
Scott Harris, foundation treasurer for the 2016-2017 school year, said, “The Mason Public Schools Foundation is an organization that has done some amazing things for the students of our community, including a couple of alumni who happen to be my kids.”
Harris said money was donated to the high school for auditorium sound upgrades, security cameras, science scales, iPads, standing math tables and more. Mason High School math teacher Steven Jackson said he wanted the standing math tables for a long time and the school was able to get them with the help of the foundation. Jackson said he has had the desks since January.
Jackson said, “I wanted these desks because in standard desk, students’ bodies typically tend to slouch, so the circulation slows down.”
Jackson said when students are standing their circulation is better, students are more focused and it helps them stay awake.
Geyer said, “The funding Mason Public Schools Foundation provides is more important than ever now, as school budgets become more constrained. The funding from the foundation helps the school district provide opportunities to Mason students that they might not otherwise have, but for this funding.”
Former Mason High School student Kevin Stalzer said he believed the foundation provided many opportunities for the students of Mason.
Stalzer said, “The money that the Mason Public Schools Foundation provided for the district was amazing. The money helped fund our schools for things like field trip money, security cameras to help our school be safe, and even Chromebooks to help us learn better.”
Stalzer said that the foundation funded portable PA systems and certain schools in the district were able to take field trips to Michigan History Museum, Potter Park Zoo,and Impression 5 Science Center.
Stalzer said, “I feel like we were very lucky to have this foundation that had money going directly into our school district. Not a lot of school districts have a foundation like this and it definitely impacted us immensely.