A team of Blue Streak enthusiasts strives to provide a firm financial foundation for Sandusky Schools.
The group recently established the Sandusky Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a goal of collecting donations in support of the city's public schools.
The fledgling foundation is a few years in the making.
In spring 2013, its eight board members officially assembled. Shortly after, they applied for and received nonprofit status.
"For a number of years, the school board has recognized there's been something missing in terms of financial support for the district," school and foundation board member Jeff Krabill said.
Although nonprofit foundations typically fund colleges and private schools, some public districts have also established them, including Huron Schools locally.
Completely independent of school districts, foundations serve as a sort of "middle man" to public school operations, its members explained.
If individuals donate to a foundation, instead of directly to a district, the foundation can invest the money or designate it to specific school operations without tax-based restrictions.
"You get more bang for your buck," Krabill said. "You can stay engaged throughout the process."
Each Sandusky Education Foundation member has a deep-rooted "Blue Streak connection," they said.
Its ranks include former high school principal Dan Poggiali, district superintendent Eugene Sanders and a slew of Sandusky High School alumni.
In about a year, the group has collected $21,000, including two sizeable donations: $10,000 from the Dorn Foundation and $5,000 from the Stein Foundation, two local nonprofit groups.
Additionally, the Erie County Community Foundation has agreed to manage its finances.
The Sandusky Education Foundation's ultimate goal: secure enough funds to hire a full-time staff member to significantly grow its efforts.
Then, its board members hope to tap into the high school's pool of thousands of alumni, as well as other district supporters, to secure donations from across the country.
"This district is a common thread that drew us all together, whether we're graduates or not," board member and former teacher John Schumm said. "We share a love for Sandusky City Schools and its children, and we absolutely want the best for them."
Sandusky Education Foundation members
•David B. Amerine, alumnus
•Ron Cantelli, alumnus
•Judy Corso, levy committee treasurer
•James Hart, alumnus
•Jeff Krabill, school board member
•Dan Poggiali, former high school principal
•Eugene Sanders, district superintendent
•John Schumm, former teacher
Want to donate?
The Sandusky Education Foundation is accepting donations for Sandusky Schools. Anyone can donate, and donors can designate their contributions toward specific items.
For more information, call board president Jeff Krabill at 419-627-9999.
For legal information regarding donations, call the foundation's attorney, Eric Muehlhauser, at 419-625-8324.