CURRENT MAGAZINE:

The Sand Springs Education Foundation is on a mission to provide local educators with the funding they truly need.
“The SSEF’s mission statement is to be a private partner to the Sand Springs Public School (District) in helping bring in creative and innovative materials that cannot be funded through local, state or federal means,” says Sylvia Fooshee, director for the foundation. “Our primary focus is our ‘Grants to Teachers’ program, where teachers or principals at the various school sites can write grants for special materials needed in their various programs.”

The SSEF was founded in 1989 to develop supportive community and private sector relationships with the Sand Springs school system. According to Fooshee, it was the dream of local businessman Montie Box.
“It had its first beginnings with a ‘Box Supper,’ celebrating 30 years of Montie’s business,” she says. “Those invited were asked to bring something to benefit the schools. A core board was organized, and other fundraisers were held to begin the financial beginnings of the foundation. Since the early 90s, the board gradually grew to 13 members. The first Hall of Fame banquet was held in 1990.”
The SSEF’s Hall of Fame banquet is one of two major fundraisers the foundation holds each year; the second being the Golf Classic.
“The Sandite Hall of Fame banquet honors former graduates of the district who have gone on to do great things with their careers,” Fooshee says. “This event also highlights our schools (and) grants that were given. Our attendees (also) meet the current Sand Springs teacher of the year, and there is a silent auction held at the beginning of the evening’s festivities.
“The other major fundraiser is the Golf Classic, where golfers around the area come together to ‘Tee Up for Education’ on an award-winning course with contributions and sponsorships going toward the ‘Grants to Teachers’ program.”

This year’s tournament will be held Sept. 18 at Tulsa Country Club, according to Fooshee.
Fooshee also notes that the foundation has raised additional funds for the last four years with the Lincoln Motor Company’s “Driven to Give Day.” All fundraiser proceeds go toward the foundation’s “Grants for Teachers” program.
The SSEF is a 15-member board and one of several local education foundations in the state. According to Fooshee, Oklahoma has one of the largest number of local education foundations in the United States.
“Each of our major fundraisers collect over $30,000 each,” she says. “Our ‘Driven to Give Day’ has raised $8,000. The SSEF has an investment corpus that also plays a part in how much we can give annually to our ‘Grants for Teachers’ program.”
The foundation plays a vital role in the lives of students and teachers alike in the Sand Springs community, supporting the local education system with important funding it might not otherwise receive.

“Educating our youth is the best way to insure that our community, state and country can be the best it can be,” Fooshee says. “But as we have seen with recent years, the funding to our schools from our legislators has taken a sharp decline. The SSEF cannot fix all those deficits, but we hope that what we do makes a difference for those teachers, principals and students in bringing creative and innovative materials to their sites that they would not otherwise be able to have.”
The Sand Springs Education Foundation is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. For more information, or to get involved with the foundation, visit www.sandspringseducationfoundation.com or call 918-245-6779.