It was inspired by budget cuts, started off as a Facebook group and united a community in pursuit of a common goal. It raised $163,000 to restore programs and activities for Baldwin students.
Baldwin 4 Children was created shortly after the school district passed its 2013-14 budget last June, following the offering, a month earlier, of a proposed budget that exceeded the district’s maximum allowable tax levy and that went down to defeat. The revised budget made $321,000 in cuts to programs and activities in order to get under the tax levy cap. Sports teams, musicals and community staples like Sportsnite no longer had funding.
Richard Damm, a father of two district students, knew there were many people in the community who were upset, and wanted to create a space for them to pitch fundraising ideas. He launched a Facebook group, Baldwin Parents Fundraising Information, shortly after the June budget vote, but it didn’t take hold until Jen Clavin, who had three children in the district, posted a message last July, asking people to meet two days later at American Legion Post 246 on Grand Avenue.
About 40 people attended the unofficial first meeting of Baldwin 4 Children. But the group was looking to collect a large amount of money, so it needed the help of another organization. The not-for-profit Baldwin Foundation for Education agreed to oversee donations.
After Clavin and Damm met with School Superintendent James Scannell, it was determined that the money would have to be raised by certain deadlines — the first of which was Aug. 1, in order to save fall high school junior varsity and middle school sports. B4C needed to raise $69,000 to save each school’s programs, but only collected enough for the high school. “It was really heartbreaking to not have enough money to be able to save the middle school fall sports,” Clavin said.