Children are the future — and no one understands that better than the members of the Granbury ISD Education Foundation.
For more than a decade, the GEF has provided funding for classroom grants that local teachers can apply for to offer their students more innovative educational programs or ideas.
Since their inception in 2011, the GEF has awarded almost $730,000 in classroom grants to teachers at every campus in the Granbury ISD school district.
“We started in 2011 and since then, it's just grown,” said Stacy Mitchell, president of the GEF Board of Directors. “We are a self-funded board. We have about 26 on our board and so that way, 100% of what's donated can go back into the classrooms to enhance and enrich education, so that's one of the things I'm most proud about is giving all the money back.”
In 2021 alone, the GEF awarded $110,000 in grants. Over the years, the nonprofit organization has also provided over $100,000 in scholarships, $45,500 in CTE certifications and $17,000 for college visits, according to the GEF brochure.
“We pay for CTE certifications, and it's for kids who may be getting their auto tech, their vet tech or their EMT and we pay for kids who might not be able to or don’t have the funds so they'll go ahead and get their certifications,” Mitchell said. “We also do college visits where we pay for the counselors, and they take different students on college visits and go and talk to financial aid and just do a tour of the campus. They usually go to Tarleton, Weatherford and TSTC in Waco. It gives some of the kids an opportunity to go see the campus and see that college is possible.”
Last year, Mitchell said the GEF awarded nine $2,000 scholarships to local students who were planning on attending colleges.
“We've grown a lot, but we try and grow with purpose and direction for the kids out of everything we do,” she said.
The GEF has also provided chef coats for the culinary classes, safety jackets for welding classes and coveralls for the auto body shop students, according to the GEF brochure. Through the GEF, a new sensory wall for special education students was implemented at STEAM Academy at Mambrino, a ViewSonic Interactive Board was installed at Granbury Middle School and several more learning opportunities and experiences have been introduced to Granbury ISD students.
"We bring in museums, we've brought the Fort Worth Symphony in, and we made flight simulators there at the high school,” Mitchell said. “I know some of the high schoolers partner with the elementary, like Brawner was making dog houses and the high school students were helping partner with the kindergarten (classes) in designing and making them and then they're going to take them to Second Chance Farm once they're done.”
GEF GRANT BREAKDOWN
As of 2022, the GEF has awarded:
⦁ $200,720 to Granbury High School
⦁ $84,923 to Granbury Middle School
⦁ $58,029 to Acton Middle School
⦁ $65,654 to Acton Elementary School
⦁ $55,594 to Oak Woods School
⦁ $66,168 to John and Lyn Brawner Elementary
⦁ $73,225 to STEAM Academy at Mambrino
⦁ $57,693 to Nettie Baccus Elementary School
⦁ $53,958 to Emma Roberson Early Learning Academy
⦁ $13,939 to STARS Accelerated High School
The total amount that the GEF has awarded to the 10 local schools since its inception in 2011 is $730,797.
50 FELLAS FOODFEST FUNDRAISER
Every year in October (aside from 2020), the GEF hosts the 50 Fellas Foodfest, which is the only fundraiser the organization hosts annually.
After a year hiatus due to COVID-19 in 2020, the 50 Fellas Foodfest came back with a flourish, raising $134,000.
The 50 Fellas Foodfest is a competition where 50 teams of two men choose to prepare and serve a dish using two-ounce sample cups. Attendees are given tokens that they can use to vote for their favorite.
Mitchell said her goal for next year — which will be the 10th annual 50 Fellas Foodfest — is to raise the total amount given in classroom grants from $730,000 to $1 million.
“My passion is with education, our community and these kids and I just want to give them the best experience and the most opportunities that they can have,” Mitchell added. “I'm on the founding board, and I’m the president and that's where my heart's at — to give back to the community and the kids and help the businesses be able to make an impact.”
For more information about the Granbury Education Foundation, visit granburyisd.org/foundation.