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New foundation to assist Greater Latrobe pupils

| Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 4:15 p.m.

Greater Latrobe School District projects not traditionally backed by public dollars could possibly have a private source of funding through a new nonprofit foundation.

Officials announced Friday that Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation would provide philanthropic aid to select district programs.

The board consists of parents, alumni and civic and business leaders who are raising money to establish an endowment, give away scholarships and fund projects within the district.

”We're really excited about the support that we've received so far,” said Maryann White, foundation board president.

Foundation officials said the group hopes to raise more than $3 million as part of an A+ Campaign that would provide more student opportunities in academics, the arts and athletics.

The group wants to incorporate state-of-the-art technology in all district classrooms, assist with the development of an athletic and wellness center, and renovate the junior high's entrance and main corridor to provide space for student-created art.

Foundations supporting school districts are gaining popularity nationally as less public funding is available, said Bill Hoffman, interim executive director of National School Foundation Association.

Depending on the size of a district, foundations around the country have raised from $100,000 annually to $6 million or $7 million, Hoffman said.

“With tax revenues down and the school districts trying to accomplish more and more ... with fewer resources,” the private sector is becoming more important, he said.

In Pennsylvania, 230 education foundations exist, according to the Pennsylvania Education Foundation. As many as 5,000 exist in the nation.

The school district is supportive of the group and pleased with the impact it can have on students, said District Superintendent Judith Swigart in a news release.

Foundation board members include Luigi Dilanni, Heidi Kozar, Raymond Mt. Joy, James Okonak, Michael Rossi, Bradley Smith, Keith Visconti, Swigart and White.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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