Supporting WEF helps local businesses earn tax credits

By Katie Grisbacher

If you value creative teaching, innovative programs at Warwick School District, and channeling your tax dollars directly into the education of Lititz youth, consider donating to the Warwick Education Foundation (WEF) through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC).

To date, over $752,843 has been contributed to the WEF from EITC contributions. EITC contributions are used to fund approved innovative educational programs that provide technology, reading programs, and more for Warwick students.

How does it work?
An eligible business can receive a tax credit equal to 75% of its contribution to an approved nonprofit Educational Improvement Organization such as the Warwick Education Foundation (WEF). The tax credit may increase to 90% of the contribution if the business agrees to provide the same amount of contribution for two consecutive years.

Math teachers would approve!

Susquehanna Bank donated $5,000 to WEF through the EITC program just last month. The multi-state business allocates a specific amount of money for each region to donate to educational organizations.

“The EITC program enables the bank to actually donate a higher dollar amount than if they were doing a straight donation,” explained Sheri Garman, Retail Executive at Susquehanna Bank. “So it’s a win-win for everybody.”

80% of contributions made via EITC go directly to the school district to support pre-approved programs. The amount contributed last year to the district through this program was $81,040.

“WEF is such a great program for the Warwick School District,” said Melanie Calender, Director of Elementary Education. “We’re so thankful for their efforts to support us with academic and teacher grants.”

EITC donations through the Warwick Education Foundation recently supported the purchase of iPads for use in 2nd and 4th grade classrooms at John R. Bonfield Elementary School.

“iPads provide an attractive alternative learning resource for students,” said Calender. “Most children find the iPad to be a tool that they enjoy using, so they tend to be more engaged in the learning process.”

Beth Hartranft, Warwick’s Elementary Technology Coordinator, echoed Calender’s enthusiasm for the different modes of learning available to students through use of iPads. “Students love creating their own digital posters using the Pic Collage app (and) enjoy reading eBooks in the RAZ-Kids app.  Students also access a variety of math apps to practice fact fluency.”

The Warwick Education Foundation recognizes and thanks the following businesses for their past donations to the WEF through the PA EITC Program: Lititz Mutual Insurance Company, Northwest Savings Bank, Fulton Bank, Ephrata National Bank, Susquehanna Bank, Clair Audio Enterprises, Clair Global, GIANT Food Stores, Lancaster Leaf Tobacco, Inc., Metro Bank, Lift, Inc., Phillips Office Solutions, Whalen Insurance Associates, and Dart Container Corporation.

Hats off to you for empowering youth for the future!

Businesses interested in receiving tax credit through the EITC program can find more information on the PA Department of Community and Economic Development website at www.newpa.com/eitc and by contacting info@warwickef.org.

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Last months’ Family Fun Day was a great success, with over 600 people attending and over $5,000 raised. Warwick High School clubs helped tremendously as volunteers – over 65 students served from Interact, National Honor Society, and National Art Honor Society. Congratulations to Bradley McCauley, 9th grade, and Madelyn Phillips, 7th grade, winners of the mechanical bull competition.

Thanks to all who participated in Family Fun Day!

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The Extraordinary Give, Lancaster County’s 24-hour online giving marathon, takes place on November 21, 2014, and Warwick Education Foundation is participating. Your donation to the WEF provides teacher grants, visits by experts in residence, technology, reading programs and more.

When you contribute to Warwick Education Foundation through ExtraGive.org, the WEF will also receive a percentage of a $250,000 contribution from the Lancaster County Community Foundation.

Katie Grisbacher is a freelance writer and editor living in Lititz. She welcomes your comments at kgrisbacher@gmail.com. For more information on the Warwick Education Foundation visit warwickef.org or contact Executive Director Barbara Mobley at info@warwickef.org.

On Facebook and Family Fun

by Katie Grisbacher

Breaking news! The Warwick Education Foundation now has a Facebook page!

Okay, so we’re a little behind the social media revolution – I guess that’s because WEF has been so busy providing technology upgrades (and a whole variety of educational programs) to Warwick School District since 1997. For example, this year, a software program called Geometer’s Sketchpad will enable high school students to interact with geometry and visually understand the concepts beyond memorization. There’s also a new cloud-based software that will be piloted in the Business Education department in several high school classrooms this year, facilitating studies outside of the classroom for homebound students, online learning, and independent study.

Now that grants for the 2014-2015 school year have been awarded, it’s time for the Warwick Education Foundation (WEF) to share the news!

Check out the WEF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/warwickeducationfoundation. Like it and share with your friends! The more people know about and support WEF, the more innovative programs will enrich our students’ education.

This week you’ll find information about WEF’s upcoming Family Fun Day at High Sports, scheduled for Saturday, October 4, 11 AM to 4 PM.

Family Fun Day offers free admission, free carnival games, and reduced pricing on High Sports’ mini-golf, go-karts, and batting cage. Proceeds benefit the WEF’s innovative education and expert in residence grant programs.

A core group of Warwick High School students attend every year to help run games and supervise youngsters. Volunteers from the National Honor Society, Interact Club, and National Art Honor Society appreciate the opportunity to give back to the Warwick Education Foundation and the community as thanks for the educational programs that have enriched their lives.

“I volunteer for Family Fun Day because I enjoy seeing people in the community having fun,” said Avery Quinn, 17, a member of the Interact Club, “and I did those types of things when I was young.”

This year, Avery has the opportunity to compete at his favorite event, the mechanical bull. From 2:00 to 3:00 pm, middle school and high school students will be judged on how long they stay astride, with prizes for the top three contestants.

With a bouncy obstacle course, deejay, and popular drummer Bobby D, there’s something for every age.

“We try to create a good, wholesome family atmosphere,” said Family Fun Day Chair Mike Vigunas. “There have been a ton of kids who have gone through there.”

Family Fun Day began six years ago as a way to raise community awareness about the Warwick Education Foundation, explained Vigunas. “It didn’t start out to be a money-making event, just an awareness-type thing. We’re happy to break even, or even a little bit better.

“The High Family has been very supportive. They give us a tremendously discounted cost for the day – whatever we sell in tickets (discounted as well) goes toward the Foundation.”

Local businesses and individual sponsors, include Blue Ridge Communications, Cargill, McElroy Pharmacy, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Rohrer’s Quarry, Sechan Electronics, Shultz Transportation, Jeff & Jane Tennis, and American Legion Garden Spot Post 56.

Watch for photos from Warwick Education Foundation events around the community – if we spot you at Family Fun Day, you might spot yourself on Facebook!

Katie Grisbacher is a freelance writer/editor living in Lititz. She welcomes your comments at kgrisbacher@gmail.com. For more information on the Warwick Education Foundation visit warwickef.org or contact Executive Director Barbara Mobley at info@warwickef.org

Reaching Beyond Resources for More

by Katie Grisbacher

Do you know Cosmic Mike? If you have a student at a Warwick Elementary School, just ask, and you will find out. He visited all four schools last year to teach about the planets in and beyond our solar system. Cosmic Mike (aka Mike Smith) also serves as Senior Astronomy Educator at the North Museum, and was brought to Lititz through an Expert in Residence Grant by the Warwick Education Foundation (WEF).

“Warwick Education Foundation wants to fund programs above and beyond what schools can provide,” said WEF board president Grant Hummer. “We want to engage all students with innovative programs.”

Since its start in 1997, the Warwick Education Foundation has provided over $950,000 to enrich student education in the Warwick School District.

I asked my daughter Lily, to tell me about Cosmic Mike. “He had this big screen with agents with dark glasses on,” she remembered. “They were from the FBI – Fun But Interesting. They were saying ‘You know a lot about astronomy, but I’m sorry to say, you’re just not fun.”

In fact, he was really funny, she admitted, and his approach really caught her attention.

“We learned … if the sun was the size of a basketball, then what would the size of the earth be?”

Warwick gifted education teacher Beth Smith, who applied for the grant with fellow teacher Sarah Holton, was pleased that students had the opportunity to learn about space exploration, the universe, and the Kepler Mission, while making connections to what they learned in their regular classrooms.

This year, the WEF is rolling out a new logo (see above), designed by local graphic artist Bill Dussinger, of Penny Lane Graphics.

The logo features an oval representing the community coming together, a shooting star symbolizing achievement by our children, and Warwick’s red and black colors to represent our schools.

Executive Director Barb Mobley sums it up: “Our children and our community are better because of the educational resources provided by the community through the Foundation.”

With a great response by the Lititz community to WEF fundraising events such as Family Movie Night at Penn Cinema and the WEF golf classic, Hummerlooks forward to inviting community members to attend educational programs as well.

Keep your eye out for the WEF logo and this monthly column, in which we will highlight upcoming WEF-funded programs such as The Weather Bug, new software that Warwick Middle School students will use to gather and analyze live weather data.

Katie Grisbacher is a freelance writer/editor living in Lititz. She welcomes your comments at kgrisbacher@gmail.com. For more information on the Warwick Education Foundation visit warwickef.org or contact Executive Director Barbara Mobley at info@warwickef.org.

 

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