Subcontractors donate to get their names on the construction sign at Robert E. Lee High School, and it funds scholarships for construction science students. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

The Tyler ISD Foundation is seeing a huge increase in funding, which means teachers and students will be seeing big benefits from the nonprofit’s programs.

The foundation has seen a nearly $100,000 increase in donations over the past two years. For the 2018-19 school year the foundation brought in $229,720 in donations, up from $155,303 the previous year and $138,936 in the 2016-17 fundraising cycle.

That money means the foundation is able to fund projects for teachers and students at a much higher level. For the 2018-19, the nonprofit granted more than $112,000, which is more than double what the foundation was able to disburse two school years prior in 2016-17, and the highest amount since 2009.

Executive Director Betsy Jones recently gave the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees an update on the foundation’s giving.

This year saw the launch of two new fundraising campaigns — a brick campaign for the district’s high school renovations and a campaign to fund construction science scholarships.

During the first round of the brick campaign the foundation sold more than 150 bricks and four cornerstone sponsorships, which will see donors recognized with their names etched into bricks at the memorial areas of each of the new campuses. That fundraiser brought in $28,650. Jones said the demand was so high that foundation will launch a second round of sales to coincide with the beginning of the school year.

The other new campaign saw the Tyler ISD facilities team come up with a novel solution to subcontractors’ signs cluttering the side of the road. The team sold spots for logos on large, easy to see boards at each campus. Through this, the team raised more than $14,000, which will fund construction science scholarships. Two students have received a $2,000 scholarship each and beginning this fall, students who earn construction certifications are eligible for the scholarship going forward.

“We’ve really received a lot of support from the community, which has been great,” Jones said.

The foundation also disbursed more than $63,000 through its Grants for Great Ideas program, which helps fund innovative classroom ideas that go beyond what the district can provide funding for.

“We’re working hard to support Tyler ISD,” Jones said.


Tyler ISD Foundation 2018-19 funding

Program Amount funded Description
Tyler ISD Events and Programs $5,612 Convocation, tailgate and showcase, etc ...
Scholarships $13,500 Beall, Maland, Carns and new Construction Sciences cholarship
Night of Shining Stars $4,272 Academic recognition event
Professional Development Grants $3,362 9 professional development grants
Grants for Great Ideas/Fine Arts Grants $63,662 Funded 21 grants at 18 campuses/departments
Donor Specific Grants $11,766 JT Student Club Leadership Support, Jones - Calming Stations and Brain Gym, Caldwell Arts Academy - Ceramics Lab

Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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