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ECGRA Strengthens Public School District Foundations,

Posted on February 9th, 2017 at 10:30 AM
ECGRA Strengthens Public School District Foundations,

The Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority has spent the last 30 months helping Erie public school district foundations build their organizational and fundraising capacity. Called the School District Foundation Endowment Challenge (The Challenge), the program also included a grant: ECGRA matched every dollar raised by the foundations up to $5 per student. Today, six of ten participating foundations received rewards for their efforts—a total of $115,143 in local share gaming revenue:

School District Foundation

# of Students

Eligible Match at $5/Student

Total Raised During Challenge


Corry Area School District Foundation





General McLane Foundation





Millcreek Education Foundation





Northwestern Community Educational Foundation





Partnership for Erie's Public Schools





Union City Area School District Foundation






= $317,151 total raised for public education

Ten of Erie County’s 13 public school foundations participated in The Challenge: Corry Area, Erie City, Fairview, Fort LeBoeuf, General McLane, Girard, Iroquois, Millcreek, Northwestern, and Union City. Challenge participants received training and support in key capacity-building areas, including board development, grant writing, tax credits, marketing, communications, and donor relations. To alleviate costs associated with launching a major fundraising campaign, ECGRA also created a series of marketing and communications materials to help support the foundations’ efforts.

ECGRA Executive Director Perry Wood said, “As we researched the concept, it became clear that we’d be doing foundations a disservice if we offered a grant but didn’t offer the resources they needed to grow. Some of the foundations were fledgling and being run by one parent; others had years of experience but little to spend on marketing materials. We provided a wide range of training and support that, like the endowments themselves, will help bolster countywide districts for years to come.”

Four of the 10 participating foundations—Fairview, Fort LeBoeuf, Girard, and Iroquois—were awarded a total of $34,680 in December 2015 when they met their fundraising goal. The 10 foundations collectively raised a total of $389,860, including ECGRA’s match, and will invest those funds in initiatives ranging from STEM programming to teacher and student scholarships to inner-district collaboration.

Wood added, “Erie County’s public schools are central to renewal in our region. An educated, innovative workforce creates and attracts new business, drives social change, and abates poverty.”

Erie County’s public schools serve more than 40,200 students in 13 districts. Each of those districts has its own foundation—all nonprofit, autonomous, community-supported organizations—responsible for raising and distributing money so districts can afford initiatives not covered by local, state, and federal funding. All 13 foundations were invited to participate in ECGRA’s Challenge.

Details about how each of the 10 participating foundations is investing endowment funds can be found at


An impact investor, ECGRA’s mission is to elevate Erie County by galvanizing nonprofits toward economic and community development. Since February 2008, ECGRA has invested more than $44 million in Erie County thanks to the pioneering leadership of members of the ECGRA board of directors and staff. Learn more at or call 814-897-2690. ECGRA PR CONTACT: Amanda Burlingham, 814-504-3037,