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Skaneateles Education Foundation plans ahead to 2020

— The Skaneateles Education Foundation is looking to accomplish big things — even bigger than they already have in four years of existence.

With that in mind, SEF board members recently held a weekend strategy retreat at Welch Allyn to set out the organization’s vision as to where it will be in 2020 and how it can better accomplish its mission to solicit and manage charitable contributions and bequests for the benefit of student education.

“The retreat really gave us an opportunity to think outside of the box and allow ourselves to dream big and to say ‘This is what we would like to be able to be doing for the schools seven years from now,’” said Sharon Magee, SEF executive director.

The Foundation raises funds to help support academics in the Skaneateles schools by contributing to curriculum development and enhancement of resources. Teachers or district officials apply for grants from the Foundation for specific academic projects. To date, the SEF has contributed more than $50,000 to the Skaneateles district for educational items or classes that otherwise would not have been funded.

The Nov. 3-4 strategy retreat was attended by about 80 percent of the SEF board of directors, as well as Skaneateles Board of Education Vice President Kathryn Carlson, the BOE liaison. Both days activities were led by former Welch Allyn CEO Julie Shimer, who has long experience facilitating such strategic retreats, Magee said.

The result of the retreat was the identification of three main outcomes for the future of the Foundation.

The first outcome was the desire to fund larger grants in the future, said SEF President Chris Bailey. SEF grants typically run to a few thousand dollars, depending on the project, but the possibility of bigger grants could hopefully go to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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