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New endowment benefits Muncy students

By Staff | Mar 19, 2015

Craig Skaluba, Muncy School District Superintendent (left) and Layne Oden, President of the MSFP (far right) accepted endowment funds from Dawn Linn (center) in the amount of $35,000 towards the newly formed Muncy School District Foundation (MSFP). Linn is from the First Community Foundation Partnership.

MUNCY – The value of education has just gone up a huge notch. For the first time in history Muncy has established a foundation for education to invest in the future of its community.

The announcement was made Thursday evening by Layne Oden, President of the Muncy School District Foundation, on stage at the high school auditorium before the opening of the student play, “Mary Poppins.”

At the same time that evening, Dawn Linn from the First Community Foundation Partnership (FCFP) presented the Muncy community with a permanent endowment fund of $35,000 with income to be used towards the committment of cultivating the education of all students in the Muncy School District. “Each year the district will receive this income to be used to enhance student experience here in Muncy,” Linn announced. Linn is Vice President of Planned Philanthropy for the FCFP, is on the foundation board and lives in Clarkstown.

“The Foundation and the Muncy School District are separate entities, but work as partners in a collaborative effort in support of the students. The Foundation recognizes the challenges the school district faces in funding needs. We will work collaboratively with the administration to help find solutions,” said Oden who is also a local attorney.

Collaborative efforts began two years ago with many hours of work by a committee consisting of Scott McLean, Robert Titman, Scott Johnson and Dr. Portia Brandt. They held their first meeting on November 12, 2014 according to Oden. From there the Muncy School District Foundation (MSDF) became an independent, community based, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

This 3-D art project was designed for Little League's 75th anniversary by selected high school students and was on display before the school play, “Mary Poppins” on Thursday night in the Muncy High school cafeteria.

Linn told the Luminary that many school districts are now setting up these endowment funds to help support a variety of programs, activities and special projects for the benefit of the students.

The MSDF intends to ensure that every student has the tools he or she needs to succeed, in school and in life. It is a partnership and a collaboration with the community and the school district.

Oden said a board of directors has been appointed to govern the Foundation and to advocate the quality and value of public education and to foster community involvement. “Muncy School District alone cannot fund the additional financial support that our students require. The Muncy School District Foundation provides a means for our community to become involved and to make a difference in the lives of our students.” Serving on the board with Oden are: David Mayer, Jason McCahan, Dawn Linn, Thomas Barberio, James Muffly, Jr., Richard Lowe, and Amy Fry.

Other partners involved include Patricia Drick Lamoreaux with the Muncy High School Alumni Association, Scott McLean, President of the Muncy School District Board of Education, David Edkin, Business Administrator and Craig Skaluba, Superintendent.

Goals and objectives will be focused on five core areas for the district: Academic, the Arts, Athletics, Scholarships and a General Education Fund. “We believe that by investing in education, we are investing in our future,” Oden said. The first endeavor will be to raise $40,000 over the next six months to update the playground equipment at Myers Elementary School. This will be a short term project, but one that will provide long term benefit according to Oden. Any donations are tax deductible and will support students in grades K through 12.

School Superintendent, Craig Skaluba was also present for the unveiling of the MSDF and said he looks forward to the collaboration with the newly formed organization and the FCFP. Before attending the play, he assisted Linn with setting up a 3 dimensional pop art project that was on display in the cafeteria for the evening. It was created by world known artist, Charles Fazzino who came to Lycoming County and worked with selected students on this commemorative art piece for Little League’s 75th Anniversary. It is now part of the permanent collection by the FCFP and will be on display at various locations.

Before and after the play, Linn handed out ‘Moon Jars’ to the students. “They are meant to encourage young people to use their dollars wisely,” she told them. “One third to be spent today wisely, one third to be saved for tomorrow and one third to be shared with your community.”