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
Superintendent of Schools
Tim Keeney, JD,
Board of Selectmen
Robin Munson, CPA
Kathy Devlin, Citizen
Jennifer D'Amour, JD, Attorney
Advisers Pat Bachetti
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 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 15 years, SEF has awarded $498,000 since inception for innovative projects and professional development and grown its endowment to $653,537. 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.
The Somers Education Foundation’s (SEF) 16th year has been challenging. The SEF awarded $24,906.69 this academic year. The amazing thing is that the endowment grew, albeit by just $2942, continuing its unbroken streak of never having a down year. Having awarded a total of $522,907 since inception, while building an endowment/cash reserve of $657,002, SEF has had a total impact of $1,179,909! In its first year of existence, SEF had $14,000 in funds and awarded $5000 in grants. It has come a long way.
For the first time in many years, all Board positions are filled. Michelle Bernier, Christine Romanko and William Kirkpatrick – agreed to serve for another 3-year term. The Board added 2 new ex officio positions, a citizen position filled by Kathy Devlin and a PTO liaison position filled by Marissa Marks. It welcomed Jen D’Amour JD as ex officio attorney and Tim Keeney JD as ex officio Selectman.
SEF did not have any fundraising events this year but certainly hopes to revive its successful Brewfest in 2021. After a cost analysis, it did not send out a Community mailer. It liquidated 2 funds, VGDJP ($14,755) and VGPMX ($10,219) and redistributed the money into other holdings. The Geissler’s Receipts Program continues to be successful. SEF thanks the Nilsson Family for its generosity in continuing its sponsorship of this important program. The smile.amazon.com program showed steady growth as well. SEF was again the beneficiary of very gracious donation of $10,000 from the Antonacci Family Foundation.
Regarding the Named Funds, the Blake Fund paid for Rachel’s Challenge and Guest Artist programs. The Roulier and Salva Family Funds paid for the Kuta Software for High School Math. The Kirkpatrick and Antonacci Family Funds paid for the Mindfulness Room at MBA. SEF also served as a conduit for funds from the community to support the Grab & Go lunch program.
SEF has 16 years in the books and has gone from a concept to a strong reality. 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 2015-16, 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,” 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 recently announced the creation of its fifth Named Fund, the Salva Family Fund. In 2020, the sixth Named Fund, the Mazzoli Family Fund was created by a Somers High School graduate (Class of 2000), Thomas "TJ" Mazzoli and his wife, Lauren.
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.
SOMERS EDUCATION FOUNDATION