GASD creating Educational Foundation to enhance opportunities for students and teachers

The Greater Amsterdam School District has begun the process of creating an Educational Foundation to help finance innovative programs that would enhance the academic and personal growth of students and teachers.

The foundation would serve as a community support mechanism outside the scope of the district’s annual operating budget, funding project and programs to further enrich the GASD educational experience. The foundation’s goal is to develop and support new ways of promoting GASD students’ intellectual, emotional, physical, or social maturity.

“We don’t look at the foundation as filling holes in the school funding process but as amplifying the educational experiences of our students,” said Richard Ruberti, GASD Superintendent of Schools.

Some 20 members of the Greater Amsterdam school and local community first met virtually in November to begin discussions for getting the foundation off the ground sometime in 2021. The foundation would be a volunteer, not-for-profit organization established under the laws of New York State and a tax exempt organization under Section 501 ©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

As such, the foundation would be governed by an executive board and be required to submit legal documentation to both the federal and state government and a filing fee of $500 to get started. Ruberti offered the first donation to the foundation as GASD Superintendent by covering the $500 filing fee. Prior to coming to GASD in July, Ruberti was part of groups that helped create foundations in the Ballston Spa and Wheelerville school districts.

“I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of what a foundation can do for a school district,” Ruberti said. “Teachers have innovative ideas and projects that cannot always be funded through school resources. Educational Foundations also enable us to expand community involvement and direction for our schools from individuals, businesses and civic organizations.”

Among those represented at the first foundation meeting were the City of Amsterdam Mayor’s Office, Amazon, Beech-Nut Nutrition, Lanzi’s Restaurants, Alpin Haus, Centro Civico, local attorneys and physicians, teachers, staff, Board of Education and community members. Since then, others have contacted GASD to get involved. The next meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. Please contact Rich Ruberti at [email protected] if you would like to participate. The next step will be to nominate and elect an executive board to oversee the foundation.

What are some of the benefits of an educational foundation?

  • Through fundraisers and tax-exempt donations from individuals, businesses and organizations, the foundation can enrich learning experiences for students through grants, scholarships and awards to teachers and students.
  • Establishes new ways for school district to focus on equity for all students, creates multiple pathways to prepare students for post-secondary success, and serves as a catalyst for innovation and an investment in education that promotes continuous improvement.
  • Finances new projects and programs that allow students to understand and utilize state-of-the-art advancements in science and technology, College in the High School offerings and possible international exchange programs.

How does everyone benefit from the work of an educational foundation?

  • Students benefit from projects that emphasize new approaches to teaching and innovative programs which stimulate thought and expand the existing curriculum. This could include reaching out to professionals such as writers, musicians, business owners, scientists, and others-to inspire the love of learning and help students at all grade levels realize the value of a well-rounded education.
  • Teachers benefit because their innovative ideas can now be implemented. Creative programs that enhance the learning experience will be encouraged and rewarded. This would include professional growth and development opportunities that extend beyond current offerings and traditional resources.
  • Our community benefits by having a top-quality educational system which impacts not only the quality of life but also economic development.