Title: Executive Director Employer: Foundation for Springfield Public Schools, 3002 W. Kildee Lane Education: Bachelor’s in elementary education, Drury University Academic advocate: Bachus has strong ties to education. A graduate of Kickapoo High School, she is a former teacher for Springfield Public Schools and at private schools. She served on the foundation’s board of directors before taking her current position Aug. 15. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Conversation With ... Jana Bachus
With 150 funds under management, what is the purpose of the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools? Our mission is to raise, manage and distribute private investment to benefit students of Springfield Public Schools. We have about $3.5 million in assets. Our Back to School grant program is our biggest fundraising drive through the year. … We try to meet needs as they come up. We stay in close contact with Springfield Public Schools administration (to) find out what the needs are each year, and try to do what we can to develop goals to meet those needs. Since our inception, we’ve given more than $12 million to the schools. (The amount) varies from year to year.
On Sept. 7, the foundation presented more than $140,000 in Back to School grants. What are some other programs the foundation supports? One of our most well-known is the Teacher Appreciation Banquet, and that’s held in April. We have 800 to 1,000 attendees (and) it’s a special evening where we highlight teachers and their achievements, including announcing the Teacher of the Year for Springfield Public Schools. …We just passed out Reading Roundup grants. We give Coats for Kids vouchers, and we’ll be starting on that with the weather turning cooler. We also do behind-the-scenes projects, providing meal carts for area schools and transportation for children who have a hardship in getting to school but live too close to ride the school buses free of charge. Our book project that we did last year to commemorate our 20th anniversary was “What I’ve Learned So Far – The Next Generation.” All proceeds from the book sales go right back into the classroom (by) funding Back to School grants.
Which classroom projects are most likely to get foundation funding? I think there’s always a real drive to support innovative projects as far as grant applications that teachers send in. The grants are chosen by an allocations committee made up of community volunteers and board members, but we do try to encourage the teachers to think outside the box as far as coming up with new ways to reach their students. Technology is a big part of the grants that are given out, too. I think we’re probably all going to see a big push toward increasing technology in our schools, because we want to make sure that we’re educating students on how to be digitally literate in the job market and in the world.
What is the foundation’s donor demographic? We have a lot of businesses that donate on a regular basis and a lot of very generous individuals. We have great partners in Kum & Go, (which) sponsored Fuel Your School last year that raised several thousand dollars. Panera Bread is another one of our great partners, Great Southern Bank, CoxHealth, 3M, Bank of Missouri, the list just goes on.
Do you miss the classroom? You know, I do, mainly around the holidays in particular, and always at the Teacher Appreciation Banquet. I walk out of there with goose bumps from head to toe, thinking, “What a great profession, to be able to touch young people’s lives and help them reach their goals.” I do miss it in a lot of ways, but I still feel like I’m making an impact doing what I’m doing. … I’ll have an impact on all 24,000 students in the district, as opposed to the ones in my classroom. [[In-content Ad]]
Adrianna Norris became a first-time business owner with the opening of Finley River Chiropractic; PaPPo’s Pizzeria & Pub launched its newest location; and Huey Magoo’s opened its second store in the Ozarks.