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MPSF Awards $123,704 Across the 52 Schools Through Endowment Initiative

For the upcoming 2023-24 school year, MPSF will be distributing $123,704 across MMSD’s 52 schools to support creative and innovative projects that are not funded within the core school budgets. These funds are part of the Foundation’s School Endowment initiative which was the first of its kind in the country when it launched in 2003. Since the program’s inception, it has invested nearly $1.2 million into Madison schools.

“Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of contributors, we have built endowments for all 52 of our Madison public schools. This year, those endowments generated nearly $124,000 in income that we will grant directly back to schools to support projects that help students thrive,” said Melinda Heinritz, President of MPSF.  “We know each school community is a reflection of the neighborhood they serve and have unique needs. The school endowment funds are just one way the Foundation is able to support our schools and students.”

Some of this past year’s projects included:

  • Chavez Elementary’s grant supported two different projects. The first was a school basketball program that allowed any and all of their scholars (K-5) the opportunity to join at no cost to families. The program served 85 kids and allowed scholars the opportunity to learn not only the foundational skills of basketball but also about teamwork and commitment. The second project was an 8-week NFL Flag Football program that supported 37 4th and 5th graders to learn foundational football skills and teamwork. This coming year, Chavez hopes to invest in more equipment and expand the program to serve 2nd and 3rd graders as well.
  • Gillespie (Jefferson) Middle’s funds supported a Student Regulation Room – a safe and friendly space for students who needed to spend an amount of time out of the classroom. They used the time in the room to process 1:1 with an adult; reflecting on their behavior, learning self-regulation strategies and understanding how to repair harm and find forgiveness. The funds also supported their I Am Black Excellence Awards event during Black History Month. Staff nominated students in the areas of Excellent Leadership, Excellent Academics, and Excellent Improvement and then recognized the winners in front of their families during an awards ceremony. All families were provided a meal and each student was given a customized plaque for their award.
  • Stephen’s Elementary used its funds to invite Roderick “Rudy” Bankston from i am We Global Village to join their 5th grade CAMP classes as an artist in residence for six weeks. As a committed educator, Restorative Justice practitioner, and author, Rudy provided teaching of poetry, musical learning, mindfulness, and more.  
  • East High School’s funds supported six different initiatives. One project aimed to address the many barriers that East students, particularly middle and high-achieving students of color, face in terms of participating in a musical experience. The goal of the project was to create a contemporary musical ensemble that would attract students from all parts of the school to plan, perform, educate, and outreach to the middle/elementary schools in Madison. This specifically addressed the community and equity aspects of East’s Instructional Foci as well as their Equity vision. Another one of East’s projects was to bring a program (modeled after something similar at West High School) called Peer Support. Peer Support students are not expected nor encouraged to replace Special Education Assistants (SEAs), but rather to foster positive peer relationships with students with disabilities and decrease reliance on adult SEAs. Peer Support facilitates social connections between students from all backgrounds to support inclusion, foster independence and build community to help all students become more successfully integrated members of our community. 
  • Lowell Elementary’s grants supported the purchase of a new sound system that has been used extensively for PBIS assemblies, music concerts, and community events. They also purchased plastic bins to store and organize all the materials from the new literacy curriculum, ensuring access to and organization of these new supplies. 

MPSF’s School Endowment Funds were established through a 2003 challenge gift to the Foundation from John and Leslie Taylor and the Madison-based Clay-Price Fund and continue to be made possible through the generous support of our community. As the endowment funds grow, the interest available for grants will also grow. Donations to school endowments can be made here.

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Born in Mexico, Antonio Cruz-Rodriguez moved to the United States with his family when he was just a few years old. The Cruz-Rodriguez family settled on the east side of Madison, where Antonio’s educational journey began. He attended Lapham Elementary for 4K, then moved to Hawthorne Elementary, and later to Sandburg Elementary due to new district lines. He continued his education at Sherman Middle School and graduated from East High School in 2010.

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Scott Swanson’s deep connection to the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) reflects his family’s long-standing history with the district. Growing up on the far east side of Madison, Scott attended Kennedy Elementary, Whitehorse Middle, and La Follette High School, graduating in 2002. His journey through MMSD was profoundly influenced by his parents, Paul and Ruth, both of whom were esteemed teachers and Athletic Directors at La Follette.

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