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Kentucky Gives Day

KSBA’s Educational Foundation raises money for scholarships
Kentucky School Advocate
June 2019 
By Matt McCarty
Staff writer

Each year two Kentucky high school seniors graduate knowing that they each have the chance to be the first person in their family to receive a postsecondary degree. 

Those recipients of KSBA’s First Degree Scholarship represent just two the of many high school seniors across Kentucky who could use a helping hand to purse their dreams of higher education. 

That’s why KSBA Educational Foundation board member Carl Wicklund wants to do more. 

“Our goal is to provide funding beyond high school for as many graduates as we can,” said Wicklund, who is also the Kenton County school board chair. “There are so many people in Kentucky who need that help that I think it is critical.” 
KYGIVES19 Results
To that end, KSBA’s Educational Foundation participated in last month’s Kentucky Gives Day. The 24-hour online fundraiser raised $5,335 from 56 contributors, with 59 percent of those donations from new supporters.

“Public fundraising for the scholarship was new territory for us and doing anything for the first time is always a blend of excitement and nerves,” KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling said. “When the donations started coming in and I realized we were hearing from many people who had never contributed before and/or who don’t even work in public education, it was exhilarating. Clearly people care about the future of Kentucky and they know education is the path to success.” 

One hundred percent of the #KyGives19 contributions will go to the First Degree Scholarship program, which has given 16 $2,500 scholarships over the past eight years. Wicklund would like to expand the program to two scholarships per KSBA region – a total of 24 scholarships per year, with the possibility of more. 

Until now, the scholarships have largely been funded through donations from KSBA community partners, but Wicklund hopes growing the foundation’s base through contributions will make it easier to generate more corporate giving.

“If you don’t have internal support it’s hard to sell yourself, especially to corporations,” he said.

Monthly contributions
To that end, the Kenton County school board team has made a monthly commitment to the foundation through payroll deductions with each member donating $10 from their monthly per diem.
“Kentucky has some of the most dedicated school board members and superintendents in the country so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I heard about the generosity of Kenton County’s board team. But I was, because by creating an ongoing support stream for the First Degree Scholarship – a program that benefits students in any Kentucky school district – they are reaching beyond their own borders. I am incredibly grateful to each of them,” Schelling said.

The Kenton board chose $10 because they believe the amount is something people can afford from their per diem, which, thanks to a recently passed law, is set to double in July. 
Carl Wicklund “We looked at it as that’s less than 35 cents a day, it’s less than a cup of coffee a week,” Wicklund (right) said. “The underlying philosophy is somebody provided a base for you to get a good education and somebody helped you get where you’re at today because of the public education system, so supporting it is almost, without sounding demanding, an obligation that we all should accept.”

If all board members and superintendents in the state contribute $10 a month and if the foundation could save a portion of that money, the foundation would have a strong base in 10 years, Wicklund said. That base would continue to grow if more supporters of public education joined school district leaders in committing to recurring donations. 

While the donations will help scholarship recipients reach their fullest potential, Wicklund noted the act of giving can also benefit the entire Commonwealth. 

“We’re doing this to provide a better workforce for Kentucky,” he said, “and a better economy for Kentucky, and a better economy is what we all prosper from.”
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