NEW FRANKLIN  A recent spring fundraiser for the Manchester Education Foundation (MEF) helped further the cause to provide scholarships for Manchester High School seniors and classroom grants for Manchester Local School District teachers.

“We are the booster club for education in the Manchester Local Schools,” said Jack Daniels, chairman of the board of the MEF.

Daniels added that the fundraiser, held in April, was the second annual dinner and beer tasting at The Caston & Main Brew Yard in New Franklin.

"We generated $2,300 for the foundation,” Daniels said. “We are contemplating doing another fundraising event, but we have not chosen a date yet."

The event also featured prizes donated by local businesses. Daniels, on behalf of the MEF, thanked Caston & Main owner Ron Robinson for hosting and donating his time.

Formed in 2012, and receiving its 501(c)(3) designation in June 2014, the MEF is a nonprofit charitable organization that has granted more than $15,500 in scholarships for Manchester High school seniors. It also has raised funds to award grants to teachers at Nolley Elementary, Manchester Middle School and Manchester High School. The Manchester Education Foundation is managed by a board of directors made up of residents of Manchester, alumni of the MLSD, and business owners in and around the community. 

The MEF also holds a fall fundraiser annually called the Mad Hatter 5K Run. This fall will mark its fifth year and will be held on Sept. 16 at Manchester High School. More than 200 runners participated in 2016.

Daniels and Tom Knoebel, secretary of the MEF, also encourage donations directly to the MEF.

“We hope those who wish to donate will consider doing so in a loved one’s name, as a legacy," Knoebel said.

Direct donations are the largest source of funds for the MEF.

To make a donation, go to the foundation website at manchestereducationfoundation.com to download a donation form or make a secure donation via Paypal on the site. To contact the board of directors with any questions, the email address is manchestereducationfoundation@gmail.com.

The MEF board seeks applications from Manchester High School and Manchester Portage Lakes Career students annually.

“Our intent was to actively seek motivated, qualified students who otherwise might receive little in the way of financial aid. Dozens of applications were received,” according to the MEF website.

The 2017 recipients of $1,000 scholarships were Manchester High School seniors Andrew Fleming, Hunter Wells, Julie Miller, Stephanie Esterle and Nicole Morrison. This year, an Alumni Scholarship of $1,000 was also awarded to Madison Masters, Manchester High School Class of 2015.

In January 2017, the Foundation also awarded the eighth round of classroom grants to six educators at Nolley Elementary, Manchester Middle and Manchester High. Grant awards ranged from $100 to $250 and were awarded to each teacher and educator who applied. The total amount awarded was $1,164. The grants given out include:

Nolley:

- Egg hatching system for use in 2nd grade classrooms.

- Mentor texts used for writing in 4th grade classrooms.

- Intervention readers for use with special needs students.

- Educational readers and cards for use in special needs classrooms.

Manchester Middle School:

- An aquaponics system for use by science students.

Manchester High School:

- Partial funding towards the purchase of a poster maker for use by all secretaries, teachers and administrators.

The MEF receives many teacher grant applications and not all can be fulfilled. The board encourages local businesses and alumni to donate, so it can award more grants each year. The foundation has awarded more than $12,000 in teacher classroom grants in eight semesters.