Education has been in the news throughout 2011, but few people know that Idaho Education Association members have given nearly a million dollars in grants via the IEA Children’s Fund. From warm winter clothes to emergency dental work, educators build and use the fund to quietly help our state’s neediest students.
The IEA Children’s Fund marked its 15th anniversary this year. As of October 31, 2011, it had made 4,059 grants totaling $930,805 to IEA member educators who – since they spend so much time with children – are often among the first to notice when a student needs help.
To protect students’ privacy, the IEA safeguards the names of the students who are helped and those of the members making the requests to assist them. But IEA members have used the fund to arrange for a wide variety of needs including eyeglasses, prescription medications, shoes and groceries.
IEA members – who include Idaho teachers, classroom aides, librarians, counselors, janitors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other school personnel – raise money for the fund via a voluntary payroll deduction. Many special events are held, too.
The fund began at the IEA’s statewide convention in 1996, where members raised more than a thousand dollars to launch it. It continues to grow, even in this poor economy: During just two days at the 2011 Delegate Assembly (IEA’s annual convention), IEA members raised more than $25,000 for the fund through a silent auction and personal and memorial donations.
Members of the public are welcome to contribute, too, by sending a check payable to the IEA Children’s Fund to the Idaho Education Association, P.O. Box 2638, Boise, ID 83701. The IEA Children’s Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, so contributions are tax deductible.