School district foundation golf tournament raises more than $63,000 to fund classroom grants

Men practice as the "Fore the Kids Classic," Washington County School District Foundation's annual fundraiser, is about to begin at The Ledges Golf Club in St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Instead of hitting the golf course on a sunny morning just for leisure, over 100 participants recently played to help Washington County teachers.

A convoy of golf carts at The Ledges Golf Course for Washington County School District Foundation’s annual golf tournament in St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

At the end of September, 36 teams totaling 144 players grabbed their clubs and loaded into golf carts at The Ledges Golf Club to participate in Washington County School District Foundation’s annual golf tournament: “Fore the Kids Classic.”

All of the funds raised from the tournament go to teachers through classroom grants.

Teachers in Washington County are allowed to request grants up to $500, said Steve Dunham, communication, public relations and foundation director. The foundation received 566 grant requests this year, which is up 400 from last year, he said.

Dunham said Friday that they were still waiting on exact totals, but they had already exceeded the 2017 total.

“Last year we raised $53,000 through our golf tournament,” Dunham told St. George News, adding that as of the day before tee time, they were already on track to increase that amount by more than $10,000

Men practice before the start of “Fore the Kids Classic” golf tournament at The Ledges Golf Club in St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

St. George businesses participating in the tournament also increased the amount they sponsored this year, Dunham said. And the tournament had more $5,000 sponsorships – or high school-level sponsorships – than it has ever received.

While the increase in funding is great for the district, he said, there is a downside: The foundation might not be able to reward all 566 grant requests. The foundation was able to award all grants last year.

I want to be able to say I granted 100 percent of the grants again,” he said, “and I don’t think that’s going to be a possibility.”

However, he said he’s hoping people and businesses in the community will step up and sponsor a grant that possibly doesn’t get chosen.

“I’m trying to think of creative ways where I can get the message out if there are businesses or individuals in the community that would like to sponsor a classroom, we’d love for them to pick a grant off of our chalkboard so to speak.”

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How the foundation board members will choose which grants will be awarded is still being decided, but Dunham said the board may look at teachers who haven’t already received a grant in the last year and if the grant isn’t just a one-time use.

“Obviously, if it’s something that can be used for several years, you’re affecting more children and having a larger impact from that one grant,” he said.

Some examples Dunham shared of grants requested by teachers in previous years were rocks to better teach geology and rockets to teach physics lessons.

The grants will most likely be awarded to the teachers in January after winter break, Dunham said.

“That’s what’s so exciting is you give a check for $156 and these teachers, they’ll start to cry.”

As far as other funding goes, Dunham said the golf tournament is the largest fundraiser the foundation organizes. However, another major event benefiting local students is the Dixie Power’s annual kite festival, from which the foundation received $50,000 earmarked to improve literacy in Washington County schools.

To learn more about the WCSD Foundation, click here.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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