President/Co-Founder Paul Salva, M.D., PhD.
Vice President John Mailhot, MBA
Secretary Michelle Bernier
Treasurer Chris Castonquay
Members William Kirkpatrick
Ex-Officio Bruce Devlin, JD,
Chairman, Board of Education
Kathy Devlin, Selectman
Superintendent of Schools
Robin Munson, CPA
Advisers Pat Bachetti
Tim Keeney, JD
President Emeritus Lou Bachetti
The mission of the Somers Education Foundation is to preserve the community’s commitment to educational excellence in the Somers Public Schools, by providing funding for innovative projects and programs which enhance student learning. The foundation is a non-political entity, independent of both the Board of Education and town government regulations.
The Somers Education Foundation’s (SEF) 15th year has been an outstanding success. The SEF awarded $67,025 this academic year, the most ever. The endowment increased 7.7% year over year. Having awarded a total of $498,000 since inception, while building an endowment of $653,537, SEF has had a total impact of $1,151,562! For perspective, in its first year of existence, SEF had $14,000 in funds and awarded $5,000 in grants. It has come a very long way.
The SEF bids a very fond farewell to Teresa Mancini and Ben Camerota. Teresa did a masterful job as the Chair of the Grant Review Committee. Ben contributed his marketing and graphic arts talents on many SEF projects and fundraising events. Their contributions have been invaluable to our success. Robin Munson has agreed to remain on the Board in ex officio status as its CPA. The Board welcomes 3 new members, Tracy Formica, Kevin McClure and Christine Romanko and looks forward to incorporating their talents and enthusiasm.
SEF had one fundraiser this year - a very successful Brewfest held at Pleasant View Golf Center. The Geissler's Receipts Program continues to be very successful. SEF thanks the Nilsson Family for its generosity in continuing its sponsorship of this important program. The smile.amazon.com program continues to show steady growth as well.
SEF was again the beneficiary of very gracious donations of $25,000 from Mrs. Helen and Mr. S. Prestley Blake and $10,000 from the Antonacci Family.
Named Funds were created in 2014. A fifth Named Fund - the Salva Family Fund - was fully funded this year.
Regarding the Named Funds, the Blake Fund covered the majority of the cost for creation of a Makers Space at SHS. The Roulier Fund paid for the Stargirl Society and the Kirkpatrick Fund paid for Heart Rate Monitors and software for physical education classes at MBA. The Antonacci Family Fund paid for updates in the Vex Robotics program at SHS.
SEF has 15 years in the books and has gone from a concept to a strong reality, delivering on its mission statement. One of its major tenets was to build over the first 10 years a permanent, sustaining endowment to be able to award grants regardless of the economy and fundraising results. Applying "The Prudent Man Rule" in 2015-2016, the SEF utilized 4% from its endowment for the first time. This is now an intrinsic part of the SEF modus operandi. The endowment is working exactly as envisioned.
SEF's goals are to continue to "think big" and grow the endowment, increase community awareness, and provide greater funding for education opportunities for every student in the Somers Public School System. Thank you for your generosity and support.
Paul Salva, President
and the Somers Education Foundation Board
Now in its second decade, SEF has developed a new avenue for growing its endowment – the concept of “Named Funds.” With a cumulative donation of $25,000, individuals, families or businesses can have a Named Fund created in their honor. Grants are awarded in the name of the donor on a yearly basis. The amount awarded is 4% of the named fund.
The first Named Fund was created in October 2014 with a very generous donation from S. Prestley and Helen Blake. The second fund – the Dan and Jane Roulier Fund - was created in 2015 from their cumulative contributions over the SEF’s first 12 years. The Antonacci Family Fund was created in 2016. The William and Anne Kirkpatrick Fund was created in 2017. The SEF is happy to announce the creation of its fifth Named Fund, the Salva Family Fund.
The Foundation is a non-political entity, independent of both the Board of Education and town government. It is registered with the State of Connecticut and with the Internal Revenue Service 501c3 and is bound by their regulations. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors who oversee the Foundations operation. The membership of the Foundations board includes Somers business persons, school parents, senior citizens, and other community leaders. Ex-officio board members include the Superintendent of Schools, Chairperson of the Board of Education, a member of the Board of Selectmen, and a certified public accountant.
Supporting Education for our Future
Simply put, tax support for public education has not kept pace with the community’s high expectations for students success. The Foundation will provide funding to augment the tax supported budget. The Foundations work may supplement the Board of Educations’ educational priorities, but it is not a substitute for them. The Foundation will not fund items and programs considered to be a normal part of the school budget.
The Somers Education Foundation has played a vital role in supporting the Somers School System with cutting edge projects not normally funded from within the Education Department's annual operating budget. In just 14 years, SEF has awarded $450,000 since inception for innovative projects and professional development and grown its endowment to $607,000. SEF was named the best new Education Foundation in 2004 and Foundation of The Year in 2014 by the Connecticut Consortium of Education Foundations.
Please consider joining this important initiative. The SEF of course appreciates donations of any size toward building a sustaining private endowment for the Somers Public Schools. With your help, SEF will continue to grow and provide enhanced educational opportunities for all students in Somers.
SOMERS EDUCATION FOUNDATION