Harrisburg 41-2

Building Bright Futures: Spotlight on the HSD Education Foundation

January 04, 2024 HSD Education Foundation Board Members Season 2 Episode 1
Building Bright Futures: Spotlight on the HSD Education Foundation
Harrisburg 41-2
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Harrisburg 41-2
Building Bright Futures: Spotlight on the HSD Education Foundation
Jan 04, 2024 Season 2 Episode 1
HSD Education Foundation Board Members

The Harrisburg School District Education Foundation is the philanthropic partner with the Harrisburg School District. It supports all schools, students and staff in the District by aligning charitable gifts with projects that need funding to provide enhanced educational opportunities. The foundation promotes excellence in education by forging relationships between the District, alumni, community and local businesses.

Foundation Members
Linda Dunham | President
| The Dunham Group
Daren Ketcham | Vice President | Legacy Developments
Superintendent Tim Graf | Past President | Harrisburg School District
JoAnne VerMulm | Secretary | Harrisburg School District

Trent Bruce | DGR Engineering
Jay Hutton | Harrisburg School Board
Mike Knudson | Harrisburg School Board
Amber Langner | Sanford Health
Breanne Lynch | Harrisburg School District 

Show Notes Transcript

The Harrisburg School District Education Foundation is the philanthropic partner with the Harrisburg School District. It supports all schools, students and staff in the District by aligning charitable gifts with projects that need funding to provide enhanced educational opportunities. The foundation promotes excellence in education by forging relationships between the District, alumni, community and local businesses.

Foundation Members
Linda Dunham | President
| The Dunham Group
Daren Ketcham | Vice President | Legacy Developments
Superintendent Tim Graf | Past President | Harrisburg School District
JoAnne VerMulm | Secretary | Harrisburg School District

Trent Bruce | DGR Engineering
Jay Hutton | Harrisburg School Board
Mike Knudson | Harrisburg School Board
Amber Langner | Sanford Health
Breanne Lynch | Harrisburg School District 


00:00:03 JoAnne 

We're giving you more than just the 411. This is the Harrisburg 412 podcast coming to you from Southern Sioux Falls and Harrisburg, SD. 

00:00:17 JoAnne 

Hello everyone and welcome to this special episode of Harrisburg 412. The podcast I'm your host, Joanne Verulam, communications director for the Harrisburg School District. 

00:00:27 JoAnne 

Today we'll be talking about the Harrisburg School District Education Foundation and how it's making a difference in the Harrisburg Community that Foundation promotes excellence and education by forging connections between our school district alumni, growing Harrisburg and Southern Sioux Falls communities and our local businesses. So stay tuned as we explore the impact of our foundations. 

00:00:49 JoAnne 

Work and how it's shaping the future of education in our community. 

00:00:53 JoAnne 

To start, let me introduce you to the individuals who make up the driving force behind our Education Foundation. These passionate leaders bring their expertise to the table and are dedicated to making our community and our schools thrive. First up, we have Linda Dunham, our president and consultant and commercial real estate broker at the denim group. 

00:01:13 JoAnne 

Next is Darren Ketcham, 

00:01:15 JoAnne 

Our Vice President and Vice President of Legacy developments, our past president, is a familiar face or a voice in this case, and that is Superintendent Tim Graf. Joanne Vermillion serves as the secretary for the foundation, but the team doesn't stop there. We've got some amazing members. 

00:01:34 JoAnne 

Trent Bruce is the vice president at DGR engineering, Amber Langner is vice president of the Treasury at Sanford Health and rounding out our board, we have two school board members, Jay Hutton and Mike Knudson. 

00:01:47 JoAnne 

And last but not least, Breanne Lynch career and technical education coordinator for the Harrisburg School District, these individuals are the heartbeat of our Education Foundation, working together to create a bright future for our community. 

00:02:03 JoAnne 

Welcome to everyone and thanks for being on our podcast today. If you wouldn't mind starting us off, Linda, what motivated you to join the Harrisburg School District Education Foundation Board? Do you have a personal connection that you can share with us? 

00:02:18 Linda 

I mean, I wouldn't be where I am today without the school. 

00:02:22 Linda 

District supporting me, you know, 100% so well, I I know I would not have achieved anywhere near the level of success I have and for me I very much think every child should. 

00:02:33 Linda 

Access to resources to help them going to be successful in life, so it shouldn't be determined on your socioeconomic status, and I think that's part of what this foundation is trying to achieve. 

00:02:43 JoAnne 

What about you, Mr. Graf? 

00:02:45 Mr. Graf 

For me, it was all about just my support in public education and feeling like, I think public education is. 

00:02:52 Mr. Graf 

The best opportunity we've got as a nation to still be with what we believe we can be. 

00:03:00 Mr. Graf 

As a nation. 

00:03:01 Mr. Graf 

And I think that's what motivates me, not only for the foundation, but to come to work every day and to support teachers and teachers are the most important thing in the classroom. 

00:03:13 Mr. Graf 

I think so much of what we're going to be able to do as a foundation is to support teachers in the classroom and ultimately the kids are the winners in that in that. 

00:03:24 JoAnne 

Thank you, Mr. Graf. Amber, what are your thoughts? 

00:03:27 Amber 

I think this ultimately gives helps support, providing the tools to our educators to ultimately impact our students, and so not only is it benefiting our students, but it gets to benefit our educators as well. 

00:03:41 JoAnne 

Trent, do you have anything to add? 

00:03:44 Trent 

And similar to Linda's comment, I think that's where I my. 

00:03:48 Trent 

My motivation comes from too, is just thinking back to. 

00:03:53 Trent 

Why I've been able to accomplish the things I have and the, you know, not necessarily mentors, but the guidance that I got through teachers and educators and coaches and all of those people that. 

00:04:06 Trent 

Give you those tools to. 

00:04:10 Trent 

Find success and to continue to move forward in life and then all of a sudden you know you you find yourself and where you're at in life and you look back and say, well, that was due to the educators that were influential to. 

00:04:26 Trent 

My upbringing and that was my motivation too, to give back to education and be part of. 

00:04:31 Trent 

This and part of the foundation. 

00:04:34 Linda 

I think for a lot of families the any positive reinforcement they get is from the school district. They're not getting that at home, but they can get that here. And so that they see that there's that somebody values them that points out their skill sets and things that are good about them. Every child deserves that. So. 

00:04:51 Trent 

Well, the other thing about it is. 

00:04:52 Trent 

The fact that you know the. 

00:04:54 Trent 

The the the tax dollars only go so far, right. And if you want. 

00:04:58 Trent 

To make a difference outside of what those tax dollars can provide, this is a way to. 

00:05:03 Trent 

Do that and. 

00:05:03 Amber 

Yeah, those tax dollars can only go so far and they really help set the foundation, but it's what we are able to help our educators go above and beyond. 

00:05:13 Linda 

And the school ends up giving back to the businesses too. Through the internship programs and things of that nature. 

00:05:18 Linda 

As well so. 

00:05:19 Linda 

All of it. All of this combined together is just to help us make sure that our youth have the skills that they need to compete on a global scale, because that's what it's become, right? We're competing not amongst our just ourselves, but globally. We're competing. Our students are competing so. 

00:05:36 Breanne 

Yeah, providing some of those extras allows kids to navigate what they want to become and not just what they have to become. And so we can do that kindergarten all the way through 12th grade, but we're fighting those really unique experiences, whether it's internships, work based learning, CTE programs, Fine Arts. 

00:05:43 Linda 

Yeah, sure. 

00:05:52 Breanne 

Programs because we know that the tax base and alone isn't going to support that. But the foundation can really continue to open those doors and that creates an educated workforce and future entrepreneurs and that's a community that everybody wants to live and work in. 

00:06:05 Mr. Graf 

And I think we can also go beyond and cast a wider net by when we implement unique programs and things that maybe are out of the norm. 

00:06:16 Mr. Graf 

In education, we are great at replicating what others do and when that happens. Other districts also then start to replicate programs just like we replicate programs. Maybe that another district has done and it really does cast a wider net across the entire state and region when. 

00:06:35 Mr. Graf 

Neat programs start getting implemented because they are seeing they are implemented then and and it impacts kids not only here in the Harrisburg School District, but in other school districts. And I think that's a neat byproduct of. 

00:06:49 Mr. Graf 

Of unique things that happen across our state. 

00:06:52 Amber 

It allows an an element of innovation in the classroom, right? 

00:06:57 Mr. Graf 

For sure. 

00:06:59 Trent 

Going back to a comment about, you know, schools breed business. 

00:07:07 Trent 

You know, you build a school, you you get house stops, you get businesses that build near schools and it becomes a circular reference. You now have people that are. 

00:07:19 Trent 

Going to those schools and you're educating them and they're. 

00:07:22 Trent 

Building business near those schools and you. 

00:07:26 Trent 

Know it just. 

00:07:27 Trent 

Continues to build upon itself, and so you know as a business owner. 

00:07:33 Trent 

In a community with a good school system and a good education system. 

00:07:37 Trent 

You're going to get. 

00:07:38 Trent 

You know exponential benefit from that, you know donation and and and what that school is able to provide in the education. 

00:07:50 Mr. Graf 

It's celebrity. 

00:07:51 Trent 

It is. 

00:07:52 Linda 


00:07:54 Amber 

I think what's unique about the Harrisburg School District Education Foundation is that we have a lot of great organizations that help support the community. You know, in through the Chamber and the Community Foundation or Tiger nation or that help support our athletes. 

00:08:15 Amber 

Our young athletes, but this is a way that we can go direct into academic education impact. And so I like the ability to have that direct investment into our into our youth specific around the education. 

00:08:29 Trent 

And to that point, there's only a certain percentage that are participating in activities in athletics and stuff, and and education impacts everyone. 

00:08:39 Trent 

Everybody gets to benefit from it. 

00:08:43 Daren 

I think it's important that we look at, you know, it's easy for whether it's staff or parents or grandparents to maybe think well, I can only give $5. Does that really make a difference when we've got, you know, how many stakeholders between parents and educators and grandparents and aunts and uncles? 

00:09:02 Daren 

And businesses. 

00:09:04 Daren 

$5 goes a long ways when you have thousands of people giving that every year, and it's enough to sustain first year teacher grants. That's enough to have some emergency grant funding for social workers to take care of families and children, and, you know, difficult time. So I think it's very exciting that we have such a community of carers. 

00:09:26 Daren 

That are willing to give whether it's their time, talent or treasure, and whether it's an hour for an event or $5 to support something. This is just tremendous to see. The response we've received. 

00:09:37 JoAnne 

And that brings up a good point, Darren. Because with our annual fund this year, we were funded enough to welcome 76 new teachers to the district this year in August and each of them received a check for $250 for them to create engaging classrooms for their students and get their. 

00:09:57 JoAnne 

Their year started off on the right foot. 

00:10:00 JoAnne 

So that was really a wonderful way to welcome them into the district this year. So the annual fund is primarily for new teacher grants and for our student success fund for families and students in crisis. Now we also have the endowment fund. I wonder, Linda, if you could tell us a little bit. 

00:10:20 JoAnne 

About that endowment fund and what that is intended for. 

00:10:23 Linda 

Sure. So the endowment fund is is related to the long term vision. So it's an opportunity for us if we're just starting it. That's our first year, but an opportunity for us to. 



00:10:33 Linda 

Get enough contribution so that we have a significant dollar amount in that endowment fund and then that 4% of that endowment fund can fund current programs annually. So it's just a way, it's just good fiscal management. Basically, we're making money interest on our money. We're getting additional money. 

00:10:53 Linda 

For exploding those endowment funds, but it's for a long term, so. 

00:10:58 Linda 

That endowment fund, the idea is it's going to live way past any of us in this room. It's for the future generation and the future generation, the future generation. So that's our long term vision that's going to give us long term stability, long term opportunities, so. 

00:11:11 Trent 

And you know, you think about the annual fund as more of that immediate impact and that. 

00:11:17 Trent 

In that endowment fund is more of that exponential impact. It's going to pay back year over year and we'll leave a a, a a legacy style impact to the. 

00:11:36 Trent 

School district and you know. 

00:11:39 Trent 

All those that come after us. 

00:11:41 Mr. Graf 

I think it's important to note, too, that donors can choose to give to either the endowment or the annual fund wherever they prefer to choose and and direct their money. And so really, where your hearts at you can you can give to either 1 the endowment fund is something that you know. 

00:12:01 Mr. Graf 

As we. 

00:12:02 Mr. Graf 

Structured this from the beginning as we talked about as a board is. 

00:12:07 Mr. Graf 

Where do you want? Where? What do we want to do that? That state funding can't provide for. And so those are things that maybe we don't even know for sure where that's going to be in a few years. But as that fund grows, we're going to have opportunities to to really impact kids based upon what it is that we're not currently able to provide. 

00:12:28 Linda 

And in Speaking of legacy, we have. 

00:12:30 Linda 

Right now, if someone contributes in the first three years, $3000 to the endowment or the annual fund, or a combination of both, then they're going to be a member of our Founders Club. So that legacy is a very important legacy there. We have a website dedicated to that. We'll publish that. So if that's something important to you and hope it's important to everybody. 

00:12:50 Linda 

To be one of those founders, it's a great opportunity. It's a three-year time frame, so there is opportunities to budget and plan for those, but we would love to see a lot more names under our Founders Club. 

00:13:01 Breanne 

And we always know that sometimes gift giving is challenging. So maybe you have those people in your life that don't need anymore stuff. You can always give an honor or memory of somebody. So if you have somebody in your life who was an educator or impacted you in some way, maybe this is where you start to impact and help them leave their legacy on behalf of, you know, the enrichment and. 

00:13:22 Breanne 

Growth they provided for. 

00:13:23 Linda 

You the great idea, that's phenomenal. 

00:13:26 Daren 

One of the things I really like. 

00:13:27 Daren 

About this group. 

00:13:28 Daren 

Is it's. It's leveraging so many different community assets, whether it's private businesses, teachers, administrators. 

00:13:37 Daren 

But to not recreating the wheel, you know, utilizing the South Dakota Community Foundation to to come in and manage this money, you know, they've got a an excellent track record and it's just, it's exciting to have people like that on board. And there's any number of groups that you could pick to do that. We're very fortunate to live in a community where we have. 

00:13:56 Daren 

Options when it comes to managing these donations. 

00:14:00 Trent 

You know, the one thing that I that I always come back to is we're at the front end of this endeavor, if you will, and and what we and and those that are giving at this time are doing as you're establishing that that base for everybody else to provide and give and. 

00:14:18 Trent 

You know my goal when I. 

00:14:20 Trent 

Contribute to something that I feel is worthy is to inspire others to do that and to get those educators and those students that are benefiting from our contributions today to realize that and give back at some point in their future. And you know the, you know, in a perfect world, you know that all the alumni of Harrisburg. 

00:14:40 Trent 

People leave the school and come back and say, hey, that I I got something out of my time in this school district and therefore I want to give back and. 

00:14:51 Trent 

Hopefully you know we're able to inspire that through, you know, continued donations and continued contributions from those that. 

00:15:00 Trent 

Are able to do so and and that someday we can inspire those alumni that I'll give back and whether it be a class challenge or something like that, that that gets those alumni and provides just some of that school spirit, if you will, to. 

00:15:14 Trent 

Get back. 

00:15:15 Linda 

That's excellent. .2 to remind people that the this foundation can be part of your state planning. 

00:15:21 Linda 

So again, when it's time, when it's time in the future, make the make this organization part of your estate planning is a is a wonderful legacy to leave behind. 

00:15:31 JoAnne 

A wonderful legacy indeed. Thank you to the dedicated board. Members of the Harrisburg School District Education Foundation for joining us today. Your commitment to creating equal opportunities for all students in the district is truly inspiring. 

00:15:46 JoAnne 

To learn more about the foundation, the impact we're making and how you can get involved, visit ourwebsite@hsdeducationfoundation.org. There you'll find valuable information, ways to contribute and details on our ongoing initiatives. 

00:16:03 JoAnne 

We hope this podcast has shed light on the importance of education and community support. Remember, every contribution, whether big or small, plays a crucial role in shaping the future of our students. Stay connected with US online and together. Let's continue to make a difference in the lives of our students. 

00:16:22 JoAnne 

Until next time, Go Tigers.