The Manchester Education Foundation awards both student scholarships and teacher grants.
The impetus behind the formation of the Manchester Education Foundation was simple.
“It is a group of people in the community who really care and have a vested interest in kids,” said the organization's treasurer, Ed Ganley. “I've been in the community for 17 years and we know how budget cuts have affected things.”
The Manchester Education Foundation awards both student scholarships and teacher grants, which are open to all area public and trade schools, Ganley said.
“Anyone can qualify, and the academic achievement has to be there, but we tend to look for the kids who work hard and are truly deserving, but don't usually get other scholarships,” he said.
The teacher grants, Ganley explained, are for projects and programs that the school district would like to fund, but cannot support financially.
In August, for the first time, the foundation awarded grants and scholarships. In all, 15 teacher grants totaling $3,100 and three student scholarships totaling $1,500 were given out. The foundation is now gearing up for its second round of scholarships and grants which will be awarded in December.
On Sept. 14, the foundation will host what Ganley said is expected to be its flagship fundraising event – the Mad Hatter 5K race.
“These 5Ks have become very popular and this is a world class, competitive race,” Ganley said. “I personally feel this will become our (highly-anticipated) fundraising event and it could become part of the Subway Series of runs.”
Ganley said the foundation is hoping for a 100 runner turnout for the Mad Hatter 5K's inaugural run which will be hosted by Manchester High School. A bevy of contests and prizes for runners and non-runners alike will be included including a “best hat” award.
“You don't have to register for the race to qualify for the Mad Hatter contest, so we are expecting it to be very colorful,” Ganley said. “Our number-one goal in our first year of operations was to keep things simple, bring a high quality race and, overall, get people to come out and learn more about the foundation.”
Beyond the Mad Hatter 5K, the foundation's donation and fundraising committees continue to reach out to area businesses, residents and Manchester alumni, Ganley said.
“This is just a lot of really good people doing a lot of work,” he said.