A $50,000 donation was presented to the Elk County Community Foundation for the STEM Education Fund. The Elk County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of North Central Pennsylvania. The fund, which has been established by Mr. Arlan Clayton from Sarasota Florida recently met with Paula Fritz Eddy, Executive Director of the Community Foundation and Tom Jesberger, a board member of the Foundation. Mr. Clayton has been involved with the STEM program through the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in Florida, and had contacted the Elk County Community Foundation over a year ago to initiate this new STEM Education Fund. Arlan operated a successful manufacturing business in our community in the mid 80’s to late 90’s. He had enjoyed a measure of financial success and “wants to provide meaningful educational assistance in the communities where he had operated his businesses”. Arlan indicated that he really liked and enjoyed the years he spent in this community. In addition, Tom Jesberger, former owner of Abbot Furnace Company, took an interest in the project and has spear headed working with the schools, as wells as making a donation to the new Fund
The Community Foundation representatives have met with the administrators from each of the schools to discuss the newly created STEM Education Fund and they are excited about the possibilities it has created. The plan is to grant $25,000 to each of the four school systems for the school year 2016-2017. The hope is to reach out to other individuals and businesses that have an interest in STEM programing at the middle school level to help this fund grow. The Foundation and donors would like to have the STEM Fund be able to provide ongoing support and to keep up with the quickly changing science, technology, engineering and math education in our local schools. “Hopefully the Fund will become an ongoing resource of grant opportunities for schools into the future. The Community Foundation is excited to be a part of this initiative that Mr. Clayton has brought to us” said Eddy.
STEM is not only the science, technology, engineering and math curriculums, but a way of teaching and working in small groups to problem solve and get students excited about the subject matter. Mr. Clayton’s reasoning behind supporting the middle school level is to get student excited and interested in the fields that are needed for future jobs and community growth. Often it is their interest at this age level that peaks their curiosity and influences their career choices.
Anyone interested in getting involved with this new STEM Education Fund can contact Paula at the Elk County Community Foundation in St. Marys at 814-834-2125