Danville’s education foundation making big changes after director eliminated

Published 5:42 pm Friday, November 15, 2019

The Danville Schools Education Foundation and Alumni Association volunteer president gave the Board of Education an update on the organizations’ progress toward more transparency during the board’s work session Monday night.

Ben Saylor, of Louisville and a 2011 DHS graduate, said they had made several changes since meeting with the school board in July. At that time, the board voted unanimously to terminate its $60,000 annual contract with the foundation director because the salary was much higher than what the director had brought into the foundation through securing donations and hosting fundraisers.

The foundation and association no longer have a director, but are led by Saylor and an all-volunteer board. He said they have cut a major expense in half by switching to a new data system provider that stores alumni and donor records. The new system will also allow the foundation and alumni association to track funds that are given for specific projects, Saylor said.

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They are also in the process of digitizing all of the education foundation and alumni association’s records, and will be making them available to the public on its website, he added.

And they will be making their financial records public as well. “Everybody will have access to seeing exactly where the education foundation and alumni association funds are going to.” However, donor names will be kept private, he added.

The alumni database “is in better shape than we thought,” Saylor said. Only eight classes between 1922 to present are missing. The good news is that six of those are from the last 15 years, he said, which will be much easier to add to the database.

“It’s very important that if you are a Danville alum, or Bate, to update your information on admiralalumni.org.”

The foundation has also decided to move away from the Dancing With the Danville Stars event, which hasn’t been held since 2017, because it was too labor intensive, Saylor said.

“We’re exploring a new fundraising opportunity to replace the dancing event for the next school year,” he said. “I think everybody loved Dancing with the Danville Stars, but it’s ready for it to move on.”

However, the board does have funds available to go ahead and commit $7,000 of grants for teachers and faculty to use during the 2020 spring semester. Applications are available on the admiralalumni.org website. They will be reviewed in December and dispersed in January, Saylor said. “We are very excited about that.”

Saylor said the education foundation and alumni association “are down to a few proud volunteers,” so they need more board members to join. “We need volunteers on our boards. … We meet once a month informally, and they’re short and sweet.”