AUGUSTA – Organized in 2013, but only recently acquiring a 501c3 non-profit agency status, the Augusta Independent Educational Foundation Incorporated is moving forward with plans to help maintain a variety of opportunities for Augusta Independent School students.
“Our main concern is that we see a lot of budget cuts to small schools,” said Mike Clark, AIEFI secretary. “We want to be able to supplement education needs and inform the public, including alumni, that they can also set up donations on a regular basis, or as bequeaths or memorials.”
Though AIS alumni in the spotlight like actor George Clooney are welcome to donate, Clark also encourages other alumni who have done well professionally to donate to AIEFI through the foundation.
“Not putting him on the spot, but someone of his stature could help a lot,” Clark said. “There are also doctors and lawyers who are AIS alumni who could help a lot.”
As student population numbers shift, funding also shifts, Clark said, sometimes putting programs like art and music in danger of cuts.
“We want to keep students interested in programs available at AIS, even though we may not have all the sports some students may want to participate in, there are numerous interesting programs we hope will retain students,” Clark said. “Our education levels are as high an anywhere around.”
One of the goals of the foundation is to try to augment salary funds to retain art instructors and programs at risk due to budget cuts.
“Tax money does not cover everything,” Clark said. “Any amount we can contribute helps.”
The group is now holding regular meetings and is in the process of applying for a Hayswood grant for priority needs.
It has also absorbed the functions of the AIS Alumni Association, at the request of the alumni association, said Lisa McCane, AIS superintendent.
“We are also coordinating the annual alumni dinner to be held the weekend of Heritage Days,” she said.