Following more than a year of discussion and planning, community leaders, in partnership with Greater Latrobe School District (GLSD) have announced today the formation of a new foundation to support academic excellence in the Greater Latrobe public school setting. Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation is a newly formed independent non- profit organization dedicated to providing philanthropic opportunities for individuals,
organizations and businesses to strategically support the students in the Greater Latrobe School District beyond the means of conventional public funding. Maryann White, CPA, of Kelly, Sparber, White and Associates, is serving as president of the Foundation. She said helping the school district keep pace in a global environment is critical for the future of Greater Latrobe.
“As a business owner and parent I believe that quality schools are critical to our community’s future,” White said. “There is strong evidence that higher educational excellence in a community is associated with improved quality of life and greater civic participation. It is in our collective best interest to support a strong and vibrant Greater Latrobe school system.”
White will lead a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of parents, alumni, and civic and business leaders committed to effectively governing the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation. In addition to White, the board includes Luigi G. DiIanni; Heidi T. Kozar; Raymond W. Mt. Joy; James R. Okonak, secretary; Michael J. Rossi, vice-president; Bradley E.Smith, Esq.; Judith A. Swigart; and Keith M. Visconti, treasurer.
To meet the growing challenges in public education, many communities like the Greater Latrobe community, are forming education foundations to support student-focused educational priorities. The Pennsylvania Education Foundation reports 230 local education foundations exist in the state and as many as 5,000 exists throughout the country. Judith A. Swigart, superintendent of GLSD, said the Foundation is a new and creative approach to providing students with outstanding educational opportunities. Swigart is pleased that the Greater Latrobe community has recognized the important roll it can play and the impact it can have in our schools with the Foundation.
“We are the trusted leader for educating our youth and through this valued role we take seriously the responsibility to keep pace with the needs of our community as we compete in a global society and world,” Swigart said. “We are thrilled to have the Foundation as a partner in supporting not just a quality public school education, but a world-class school district for our next generation of citizens.” The first goal of the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation is the A+ Campaign for the Greater Latrobe School District. The A+ Campaign is seeking to raise in excess of $3 million for programs and capital expenses in the three GLSD priority areas: academics, the arts and athletics.
“This campaign is an incredible opportunity for the community to become actively engaged in supporting one of our greatest assets,” White said. “Our success will bring great value to the school district’s ability to produce a well-educated and well-rounded workforce that is prepared to meet the growing demands for lifelong learners.”
The three strategic goals of the A+ Campaign include comprehensive technology integration in all classrooms K to 12; assisting with the development of an athletic and wellness complex at the Junior/Senior High School campus; and the renovation of the Junior High entrance and main building corridor which will provide a flexible space for the Junior High art collection, modeled after the existing unique art collection, Center for Student Creativity and court yard at the Senior High School. Board member and Greater Latrobe School District alumnus, Ray Mt. Joy, is chairing the A+ Campaign and said the positive community response has been extremely encouraging and positive.
“We are already experiencing significant success with the Campaign and we have yet to announce a public fundraising goal,” Mt. Joy said. “We are heartened by the vision and commitment from those who have stepped forward and look forward to working with the entire community and alumni locally and throughout the country as we proceed with the campaign.”
While the A+ Campaign is the first endeavor and a priority for the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation, White said the Board is also exploring other opportunities that will support educational excellence beyond the current campaign. The Foundation recently received charitable grants for Greater Latrobe students to participate in summer enrichment programs at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Summer Science Math Experience and also to promote the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education’s Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week.
“We are thinking not only of what our students need today,” White said, “but also of current and endowed funds to support teaching innovation, scholarship, technology and other challenging creative opportunities that will position Greater Latrobe for educational excellence for many years to come.”