History of the Foundation
The West Ada Education Foundation, formerly known as the Meridian Education Foundation is entering its 32nd year of operations. At its inception, a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers believed that more could be done to support creative and innovative programs in the West Ada School District. They believed that teachers and students deserved to have a wider range of options in their educational experience in order to enhance learning.
The main approach that the early board took to making this opportunity into a reality was to create a grants program for Meridian District teachers, now West Ada District. The grants would be awarded to those teachers who could demonstrate innovation in their programs. Each year, teachers started to submit ideas to facilitate new learning channels for their students and each year the Foundation did its best to support as many of these programs as it could. Every year, $15,000 - $20,000 are given to West Ada teachers in Foundation grants.
As time passed, the Foundation was able to expand its support, thanks to the generosity of local benefactors. It’s well known that in times of financial hardships, some of the first programs to be affected are those that are considered less crucial- such as art, music and theater. The Foundation was gifted with a $350,000 endowment to apply solely to music programs in the district over the course of three years. In 2014 a $100,000 endowment was given for art education. All of our 55 schools have been the recipients of music or art grants which have enriched their programs and the experiences of thousands of students.
The Foundation also provides some scholarships for students. Local benefactors donate and the Foundation administers these grants.
We help fund many other district programs. A few years ago, the Foundation was able to assist in providing a wonderful experience for 7th graders district wide. The district had students read and discuss the book The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek in English class. They then attended a concert at the Morrison Center where the author, also an accomplished pianist, told the inspiring story of the survival of her mother in World War II and how she went on to become a concert pianist while playing accompanying pieces. The district’s budget could not provide funds for the busing or performance by the author without the support of the Foundation and the Wassmuth Human Rights Center in a partnership. Once again this project illustrates how the Foundation provides supplemental funding to enhance classroom education. We have provided funds for many great programs such as Rendezvous, Philharmonic Field Trips, the Ag Expo and many more.