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Education foundation seeks new members

Four people can only do so much. And when it comes to doling out thousands of dollars to benefit thousands of Farmington students, well, those four could use a little help.

Once a team of more than 20, the Farmington Area Education Foundation is looking for a few new members. Right now, there are only four board members, and that's all there is to the Foundation's membership. Before too long, simply because of the way the bylaws spell out term limits, those four won't be able to hold on to their posts.

But they don't want that to happen. That's why, now, while they're mid-way through their terms, FAEF members are looking for new blood.

A need to expand

The Farmington Area Education Foundation started during the 1999-2000 school year. At the time, there were more than 20 members with lots of time, ideas and enthusiasm for the project. As part of incorporation, the early members set term limits of two and three years for board members.

That worked well enough for a while. Board members could hold on to their seats for a total of two, three-year terms. But after that first six years was up, no new board members had been brought in. When the terms were up, none of the board members could continue. Only one or two board members remained for the future, and their terms were limited, as well.

These days, the FAEF is led by president Glen Anderson, who was an early member, then took a couple of years off and came back. And while Anderson appreciates the work the other three board members are doing, he sees their terms ending someday, too.

"In order to expand what we want to do, we need more people and more board members," Anderson said.

FAEF meets quarterly, and they work closely with School District 192 to plan their one big annual event, the Partners In Education recognition dinner and ceremony. They have to spend some time looking over applications for grants and scholarships, and making those designations, but for the most part, Anderson said, "the time commitment is whatever you make it."

In its original form, the Foundation had a cross-section of the community. There were business leaders and community volunteers, parents, teachers and high school and college students. Everyone brought different ideas and perspectives, and that helped the foundation make decisions when it came to things like how to select recipients of grant monies or come up with fund-raising ideas.

Anderson would like to see that diversified membership again.

About the Foundation

The Farmington Area Education Foundation is not a part of School District 192. It is not funded by taxpayer dollars. As a nonprofit organization, it is, however, dependent on fund-raising and donations.

The foundation uses most of its annual budget to subsidize programs, technology and educational tools that aren't normally included in the school district's budget. They try to cover about $10,000 in requests annually - this year, they allocated $10,876 to cover several requests from schools around the Farmington district. But the foundation received more than $60,000 in requests this year alone.

Making those decisions, and later seeing how that funding has helped students, is one of the things Anderson finds most rewarding about his affiliation with FAEF.

"A lot of times, the schools can't pay for all the technology that's out there, so they use the funding from us as a testing ground for new pieces," he said. "It's really satisfying to see how teachers work to find new ways to do their job and enhance technology in the schools."

The Farmington Area Education Foundation also awards the Robert Watson Memorial Scholarship every year. Funding for that scholarship was bequeathed to the foundation by FHS alum Robert Watson.

Anderson hopes there are a few parents or community members out there who would be willing to join the foundation over the summer. He's just built a new web site,, to give folks a little more information about FAEF and what it does. Membership information is also available at that site.

"It's been a blast. It's fun to see all the stuff going on in our schools," Anderson said. "Our teachers and staff really work on providing the best education they can."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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