SJPS Foundation happy with 2015 fundraising

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — The St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation raised more than $400,000 in 2015, far surpassing its goal of $300,000, the St. Joseph school board learned Monday night.

Foundation President Bill Marohn provided some context to the board during its monthly meeting.

“It was a quite bit less than last year and the primary reason is because of Encore,” Marohn said. “Last year we had Encore and we grossed $93,000 from that. We are going to have Encore in 2016 and we have set a goal for $100,000 of revenue from it for this year. This is something we don’t feel we can do every year. Hopefully we can do it every other year.”

Encore is a collaboration between the Foundation, St. Joseph High School and alumni, which features acts that were presented on stage from the 1950s to the 1990s.

About $347,000 of the foundation’s total revenue came from unrestricted funds – with the biggest donor being Whirlpool Corp. at $119,000.

“As you know, they have this golf outing in August where they bring in their suppliers,” Marohn said. “They take the proceeds from that golf outing and divide it across three school districts – St. Joe, Benton Harbor and Lakeshore. Our one-third share was $119,000.”

Four of the major projects the Foundation funded included the 1-to-1 Initiative for sixth-grade students ($100,000), buying 300 loaner devices between January and July for the Bring Your Own Device program ($60,000), scholarships ($45,000) and professional learning communities ($41,000).

Marohn said all Foundation officers committed to another year of service.

Other agenda items

SJPS Superintendent Ann Cardon read a letter to the board from state Rep. Dave Pagel, R-Berrien Springs, which explained the process of how Senate Bill 571 was approved after items were added by the Senate.

If signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, SB571 would prohibit a public body, including school officials, from using public resources for factual communications referencing local ballot questions for 60 days prior to an election.

Cardon said she has reached out to Snyder to urge him veto the bill. She asked board members to do likewise.

Trustee Corey Carolla was not present for Monday’s meeting.

The board will next meet for a study session at 6 p.m. on Feb. 1 in the Lincoln Elementary Media Center at 1102 Orchard Lane in St. Joseph.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 5, 2016)



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