The Ephrata Area Education Foundation was founded in 2004 by Gerry Rosati, the Ephrata Area School District’s superintendent at the time. His desire was to develop a community-led foundation board to support the school district’s educational mission in ways the regular budget would only sometimes allow. Hence, “we take the risk, so taxpayers don’t” invest in new ideas that have not yet been proven in practice. If programs are successful, the district can add to its budget. If not, it isn’t renewed, and no tax money is lost.
In 2005, the first Venture Grants were awarded. Since then, the Foundation has granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to teachers and administrators for classroom activities and projects that help students understand standard curriculum through a fresh perspective and hands-on experience.
Through the years, the Ephrata Area Education Foundation adopted some of the Venture Grant programs that were proven very successful. Called our Signature Programs, they include:
- VEX Robotics Club (students build robots and compete against other high schools).
- Coding Contest (district-wide competition to encourage coding skills for students, K-8).
- Quiz Bowl Team (competitive trivia team that competes on WGAL TV’s Brain Busters and against other schools).
- Ephrata Early Learning (two part-time employees work with parents to help them prepare their children for school).
- Corny Days (a field trip for all 6th grade students to learn about the life cycle of corn and its many uses).
- STEAM DAYS (this popular program provides hands on science experiments once a month on half-days).
- The Mounts Fund (High School’s Investment Club buys into the stock market with $30,000 of real money granted from the Foundation to learn real-life investment skills and financial literacy).
The Foundation is overseen by an Executive Director and a Board of Directors including:
- Mark Thompson, President
- Phil Hess, Vice President
- Ryan Ellis, Treasurer
- Sarah McBee, Recording Secretary
- Dr. Bill Funk
- Dean Hoover
- Connie Kirby
- Ashley Scheirer
- Dr. Brian Troop, EASD Superintendent
- Dane Burkholder
- Dr. Jacy Clugston Hess
- Jeff Stauffer
- John Porter
- Kristee Reichard
- Larry Sollenberger
- Milca Mendez-Ceballos
- Phil Eby
- Susan Doub
- Tim Weagley
- Crystal Smeltzer, Executive Director