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New educational foundation wraps up first fundraiser

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

CHINA GROVE — The new Rowan Partners for Education has taken off after its first official fundraiser closed out Saturday night. The golf tournament and dinner had a nearly 200-person turnout over the course of the day, Jon Steele, co-chair of Rowan Partners for Education, said.

An early estimate pegged contributions at approximately $15,000. The money will be used to fund “mini-grants” for Rowan-Salisbury teachers who have innovative ideas.

“Innovative doesn’t mean they plug into a wall or are computer operated,” Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said.

Instead, the foundation is looking for teachers to think outside the box. Eight teachers who applied for a mini-grant were invited to Saturday night’s dinner to present their ideas. Proposals ranged from virtual reality to scrimshaw art projects.

Fourth-grade teachers from China Grove Elementary were trying to raise funds to send their students to Junior Achievement Biztown, a program that allows students to invent products and run a simulated business for a week.

“So this is something they’re going to own and feel proud of,” Angela Ramey, one of the teachers said.

Rowan Partners for Education began in the 1990s as a way to bridge the gap between communities and classrooms. Then, it was known as the Rowan-Salisbury Education Foundation. One of its founders, Paul Fisher, former CEO and chairman of F&M Bank, believed that education was the “common denominator for the success of any community.”

“I’m excited to see Rowan Partners for Education rejuvenated. It’s a great day,” Moody said.

The new foundation hopes to fund teacher mini-grants every year, as well as work on other projects and initiatives.

“It’s been a great day, it’s been wonderful to see the community come together to support our schools,” board member Susan Steele said.

The Steeles extended thanks to the event’s sponsors including Novant Health, F&M Bank, Integro Technologies, Bradshaw Financial and Bank of North Carolina. They also thanked the event’s hosts, James and Donna Jolly.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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