When the community voted against the Lynbrook School District’s proposed $46 million bond by 314 votes in 2016, Ivy Reilly was disappointed. “I thought it was a no-brainer to give everything to a school district,” she said.
But Reilly, whose children attend Marion Street Elementary School, realized that not everyone in the district would want to spend more tax money to pay for improvements to the schools. So, she said, she sat down with Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Paul Lynch to discuss other fundraising opportunities. They told her about education foundations, non-profit organizations that hold events to raise grant money.
“A foundation can be a huge supporter of programs and equipment for the district,” Burak said in a statement to the Herald. “An education foundation can be a wonderful addition to any school community.”
The East Rockaway Education Foundation hosts a variety of annual events that raise grant money for teacher projects. Events, such as the annual 5K the EREF ran last Saturday, can raise as much as $7,000 for district initiatives. Dan Caracciolo, the foundation’s vice president, said he has been in contact with Reilly about restarting an education foundation in Lynbrook. “I mentioned that if Lynbrook needs help, East Rockaway would be happy to have them shadow our organization,” Caracciolo said.
The Lynbrook Excellence in Education Foundation was disbanded in 2005 because of declining membership. “There weren’t enough people that were involved in it, and there was no plan for succession,” Reilly said.
Reilly also discovered that she could reform the education foundation, which the Internal Revenue Service still considers a living entity.
At an informational session on the proposed new foundation on March 15, Reilly told the 10 participants that anyone could be a member of the foundation and the members would elect an executive board. Members of the executive board would be restricted, in the hope that board members do not use the platform as a way to run for the Board of Education, Reilly said. Nobody in the foundation would be compensated for any work done on its behalf.
Reilly’s proposed education foundation would also differ from its predecessor, she noted, because she would like to use the foundation as a means to engage community members and alumni to keep them informed and give them a say.
To reform the foundation, Reilly said , she would need more members and help to develop a website for it. The 10 residents who showed up to the first informational meeting also brainstormed fundraising opportunities with Reilly. They discussed a Founding 100 fundraiser starting on April 17 in which the foundation would raise $100 from 100 residents in 10 days, and other events. “I am so excited about some of the things we are planning,” Reilly said. “I think we definitely have a lot to look forward to.” For more information, email LynbrookEF@gmail.com.