Cherry Creek Schools Foundation celebrates 30 years of supporting students
The year was 1990. It was the year of the reunification of Germany, the first steps of the Internet, the release of Nelson Mandela, and the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.
It was also the launch of a new idea – a foundation dedicated to serving the students, staff, and community of the Cherry Creek School District.
In 1990, more than a few educators and community members were concerned that the previous year’s School Finance Act would lead to the gutting of programs like tutoring, art, music, and more. Lynn Greene, a parent and local attorney, and Catherine Canny, who was then the principal of Prairie Middle School, brought the idea of the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation to then-superintendent Dr. Robert Tshirki and the Board of Education, who were excited at the opportunity to expand opportunities for students. The group discussed how to organize the Board of Directors, how to raise money, and the focus for the Foundation’s giving.
The focus proved a tricky question – there was so much that could be funded! Members of the Board argued to provide funding for unmet needs, like school supplies, lunch money and transportation to a needed tutor. Other members said that the Foundation should support summer school for at-risk youth, access to computers, and the art, music, and drama programs that might be cut. In the end, the Board and others realized that the answer was right in front of them the whole time. Greene, co-founder of the Foundation and its first executive director before hiring Claudia Myers as a full-time executive director.
“After looking at all the great aspects of our district that we wanted to support and enhance, we realized that it exists because of the extraordinary vibrance of our teachers, who had built everything from the ground up,” Greene shared. “We needed to empower and fund our teachers and administrators so they could continue to risk implementing great new ideas.”
It was decided that the newly-formed Cherry Creek Schools Foundation would fund pilot programs that, if successful, could be rolled out throughout the district to the equal benefit of all. The Foundation would review grant requests from the teachers and administrators and fund ideas that would enhance students’ learning, a program that exists today as Educator Initiative Grants.
“They knew that the community was heavily invested in volunteering and created a way to channel those efforts,” CCSF Executive Director Jill Henden said. “Today, our parents and families and community members are still interested in investing in public education to create the society we want our kids to inherit.”
In 1993, the Foundation officially became a part of the Cherry Creek Schools family. Thirty years later, the Foundation continues to support students and fund innovative programs that have spread across the district to create positive impacts for students from all neighborhoods. This 2023-24 school year, the Foundation is proud to honor its legacy with storytelling, celebrations, and support from the community – stay in the know by following us on social media, signing up for our newsletter, and checking our website for information! You can also donate to support programs like Educator Initiative Grants, mental health, and emergency relief to support students in our school district.
Do you have a story about your experience with the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation that you’d like to share? Contact Jill Henden, Executive Director at email@example.com or 720-554-4409 to share!