Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools named in memorial gifts honoring champions for public education
Year-end giving includes establishment of new fund to help schools and scholars thrive
In the season of giving and gratitude, the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools finds itself the recent recipient of gifts to honor the memory of school administrators, artists and advocates. The end of the year typically means a bump in contributions to nonprofits, including the Foundation. This year in particular, the Foundation is grateful to honor two champions of public education through the generosity of friends and family.
When former Madison mayor Joel Skornicka volunteered in Madison’s public schools, he noted the need for quality playground renovations and helped the Foundation establish a fund to support these updates in the city’s elementary schools. When Skornicka passed away last month, family listed the Foundation as a recipient for contributions in Joel’s memory, which will continue to support the Madison Elementary School Playground Fund. Joel also provided for a bequest in his estate plan that will increase the fund’s balance generously.
A lifelong educator, Don Hafeman was a former Superintendent for the Madison Metropolitan School District. Through his enduring connection to public education, Don was integral in early activities resulting in the establishment of the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools in 2001. Upon Don’s passing earlier in 2019, his sons, Doug, Dale and David, and their families wanted to fuel a scholarship fund at the Foundation with a generous $250,000 gift. The Hafeman scholarship will provide $10,000 in support to a graduating scholar from a Madison public school who may not otherwise have resources to attend a two- or four-year post-secondary program.
Hafeman’s son, David, retired Dane County Deputy Sheriff, shared his father’s own words on public education, “If knowledge is power, then education is the means to distribute that power equally.” The Foundation was especially happy to establish this fund in sync with Don’s birthday, December 9.
“The Foundation is honored to work with families on ways to honor their loved ones, to celebrate their passion for our public schools and to continue their legacy of support,” says Melinda Heinritz, Executive Director of the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools, “Throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season, we are humbled by the opportunity to provide resources to Madison public schools in memory of outstanding educators and champions like Joel and Don.”
The Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools is an independent nonprofit that serves as the key philanthropic partner to the Madison Metropolitan School District. Since its founding in 2001, the Foundation has given over $20 million back to Madison’s public schools through endowments, programs and the funding of novel school-based initiatives. The Foundation manages over 170 funds, similar to these most recently established, and spearheads community partnership programs including Adopt-a-School relationships, which give over $1 million in assistance to Madison’s public schools each year. To learn more about the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools, visit SchoolsMakeMadison.org.