By Anya Bochman
Mary Campion, current CWCEF chair, met with a few others who would go on to become founding members and decided to form a non-profit organization that would rely chiefly on fundraising to better the education of students in the district.
“You can complain about situations that the school district has no power to change, or you can try to figure it out yourself,” Campion said. “This is why we fundraise.”
The Educational Foundation’s official status as a non-profit tax exempt charitable organization includes as its mission a design to “provide additional funding, resources and grants to assist our teachers and students throughout the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public School District, including all four of our elementary schools; 100 percent of our proceeds will go directly back to our students and teachers.”
When teachers and administrators submit grant requests, many of the times these are critical needs for which funding is unavailable. To this end, CWCEF – which now has approximately 20 members who donate their time – engages in a number of fundraising events. In recent years, CWCEF has helped fund a greenhouse garden at the Grover Cleveland Middle School, a broadcasting booth at James Caldwell High School and a writing program and redesign at all the elementary school’s media centers.
The foundation’s biggest event, however, is the CWCEF 5K, which will be entering its fourth year this May. A race sanctioned by the United Track and Field Association, the CWCEF 5K has attracted over 600 runners and walkers in past years. With anyone being able to participate, the event is backed by local sponsors and will include vendors and volunteers selling signs and t-shirts.
“It’s a big event in Caldwell,” Campion stated. “All the teachers are organized [to participate] because they know we are helping them. There is a trophy for the school that has the most students participating.”
A few of the changes this year will include lining up runners in configurations that allow more freedom to experienced runners – a response to feedback provided by former participants.
The certified 500 Grand Prix event starts at 9 a.m. this year on May 12 at James Caldwell High School. According to Campion, the planning got a “late start” this year, so that at press time most of the sponsors are unknown.
With 100 percent of the profits from the race going to support district schools, CWCEF members are hoping to raise around $25,000 to benefit school safety goals, such as safety training and retrofitting doors.
Those wishing to register for the race can do so in advance online or in person on race day. Pre-registration will end on May 5. Fees are $25 for adults, $20 for children and $22 for U.S. Track and Field members through preregistration. Race-day registration is $30 for adults and $25 for children, and takes place at James Caldwell High School.
For all the important education and community work CWCEF engages in, Campion acknowledges that lack of visibility is an ongoing problem.
“We are all working people,” the chairperson said. “We meet when we can and publicity can be hard. Some people don’t know we exist.”
For more information on registering or becoming a sponsor, visit http://cwcef5k.ducktechtest.com/EventRegistration/eventregistration.html.