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HASD, Spring Cove foundations see donations drop

Fundraising challenging during pandemic

School foundations in Hollidaysburg and the Cove continue to work through fundraising and donation challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Jodie Albarano, executive director of the Hollidaysburg Area School District Foundation, said the group brought in just over $68,000 from 2019-20, compared to $90,000 in 2018-19.

Albarano said the amount donated through the Educational Improvement Organization program decreased from $40,000 to $20,000 between those years. An EIO is a state-approved charity that can receive donations from donors who use Pennsylvania Earned Income Tax Credits to lower their donation costs or increase the size of their donations.

Betsy Baker, Spring Cove School District superintendent, said that last fall, its Dragon Pride Foundation logged its “most successful” business drive. However, Baker said the foundation’s EITC donations were down slightly. She said the golf outing, which typically brings in $5,000, was canceled due to COVID-19.

Albarano said despite the drop in the HASD foundation’s revenue, she felt “it wasn’t worrisome” because the foundation has no overhead. Board members are volunteers, and Albarano is an employee of the district. The foundation itself has no employees.

“We’re kind of in a unique position,” Albarano said. “All of the money goes directly back into classrooms.”

Baker said although revenue from the Dragon Pride Foundation was down, expenditures were as well, which she said “balanced out overall.” Baker said most of the foundation’s revenue comes from voluntary payroll deductions by staff which she said “increased slightly.”

Baker attributed the decrease in foundation expenses to having fewer venture grant requests from staff because the school received “significant competitive grant funding last year,” including a PAsmart grant for $500,000 and a Bayer Foundation Grant for $25,000.

“This allowed for an extensive expansion of our STEM programming without the need to approach the Dragon Pride Foundation for assistance,” she said.

The foundation did purchase neck gaiters for every student, faculty/staff member, coach and bus driver, Baker said.

In March, the HASD Foundation’s board approved $29,000 for district projects. Those projects included: $8,000 for the junior high library, up to $10,000 for the senior high library and a mural at the stadium and high school gymnasium lobby.

Albarano said funding is usually reserved for projects that are not already in district budgets but help complement curriculum.

She said although the Restore the Roar fundraising campaign is ongoing, the foundation decided to postpone the installation of the digital scoreboard at Tiger Stadium until next year.

The foundation will continue to rely on the support of sponsors and businesses, she said, but will not be raffling a large item this year — last year, the foundation raffled a Mustang. Due to the financial hardships many have been facing, Albarano said the foundation felt it “wouldn’t be responsible” to do so again this year.

Mirror Staff Writer Dom Cuzzolina is at 946-7428.

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