SOMERS EDUCATION FOUNDATION
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.
President/Co-Founder Paul Salva, M.D., PhD.
Vice President John Mailhot, MBA
Secretary Michelle Bernier
Treasurer Chris Castonquay
Members William Kirkpatrick
Robin Munson, CPA
Ex-Officio Bruce Devlin, JD,
Chairman, Board of Education
Kathy Devlin, Selectman
Superintendent of Schools
Advisors Pat Bachetti
Tim Keeney, JD
President Emeritus Lou Bachetti
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.
Supporting Education for our Future
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.
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 SEF is proud to announce the creation of its fourth Named Fund – the William and Anne Kirkpatrick Fund.
The Somers Education Foundation’s (SEF) 14th year has been an outstanding success. The SEF awarded $43,512 this academic year. The endowment increased by 18.4% year over year which is truly remarkable. This was due to three reasons: an increase in donations, market appreciation of its investments and less money requested compared to last year, primarily in the area of professional development. A true watershed event occurred this year with The SEF crossing the $1,000,000 (One Million Dollar) threshold in total impact!!!!! It has awarded a total of $431,000 during its existence, while building an endowment of $606,699. For perspective, in its first year of existence, SEF had $14,000 in funds and awarded $5000 in grants. The SEF has truly come a long way.
For the first time in a few years, there were no changes in Board membership. There were changes in the Executive Committee with Michelle Bernier becoming Secretary and Christopher Castonguay becoming Treasurer. Both have done a wonderful job in their new roles. SEF also welcomed Mr. Brian Czapla, Superintendent of Schools as an ex-officio member.
SEF had one fundraiser this year – a very successful Brewfest held at Pleasant View Farms. SEF wishes to thank Dunkin Donuts for its corporate sponsorship. 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 a very gracious donation of $50,000 from Mrs. Helen and Mr. S. Prestley Blake, as well as a $10,000 donation from the Antonacci Family.
SEF now has 14 years “in the books.” It 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 2015-16, the SEF utilized 4% from its endowment for the first time. It did so in 2016-17 and again this year. This is now an intrinsic part of the SEF modus operandi. The endowment is working exactly as envisioned. This is something of which the SEF and its supporters should be very proud.
SEF’s goals are to continue to grow the endowment, increase community outreach and awareness efforts, and provide greater funding for education opportunities for every student in the Somers Public School System. We look forward to another exciting and successful year for the Somers Education Foundation.
Thank you for your generosity and support.
Paul Salva, President
and the Somers Education Foundation Board
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.