A Look Back
In 1986 Wayne Township resident, Bart York, was inspired by other school districts around the state of Indiana to form an education foundation here in our township. On August 12, 1991, his dream became a reality when the Indiana Secretary of State recognized the Foundation with a Certificate of Incorporation.
The first years of the Foundation’s life were spent “getting the word out. In the beginning the Foundation funded projects that focused solely on recognition. The Seniors’ Choice Awards, the Excellence in Academic Achievement and Teaching Banquet (otherwise known as the Top 30 Banquet) and the Evening of Excellence are programs that the Foundation continues to fund. In 1994, the Board of Directors created a vision and turned into reality a grants program. This program allowed teachers and students to apply for grants that would provide funding for educational opportunities that go beyond the normal classroom curriculum.
In 1995, while expanding its grants and awards program, the Foundation became a stronger entity with a bright outlook for the future. Through the efforts of the local foundations and other such groups within the Marion County Education Foundation Network, more than a year-long cooperation with The Indianapolis Foundation culminated in the awarding of a two-year $500,000 grant to be divided equally among the nine working education foundations in Marion County. This significant grant provided the Foundation the means for an office, an executive director, more active and personalized fund raising efforts, enhancements to its recognition programs and more finely developed guidelines for grants. In late December of 1996, thanks to the Lilly Endowment dollar-for-dollar matching pledge, the Foundation moved past dreaming about creating an endowment fund. Later in the campaign The Indianapolis Foundation sweetened the pot by adding an additional fifty percent match. Together, these opportunities made every potential dollar raised worth $2.50. This pledge period began in June of 1997. The Board of Directors responded by encouraging local corporations and organizations to pledge to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By the end of the pledge payment period in 1999, the fund totaled over $680,000. As of September 1, 2014 the fund balance was over $1,862,497.
This endowment fund creates a legacy that provides 5% of the December 30 Fund Balance to support grants and recognition programs, as needed by WTEF board.
Since its inception in 1991, the Foundation has awarded $1.5 million in program funds benefiting 600,000 + teachers, students, and parents.