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The members of the St. Maries Foundation for Education know that for a fundraiser to be successful it needs to include the bulk of the community. So when the group was deciding on a way to raise money for their organization, they enlisted help from two of the biggest and most giving sects of the community: teachers and staff of School District 41 and St. Maries businesses.

The fundraiser, which will run throughout the course of the 2011-12 school year, relies on money raised through voluntary payroll deductions from school district employees. All contributions made by the district staff will then be doubled by a match from a group of local business.

“The idea is pretty simple, it just takes a long time to explain the details,” Foundation President Devon Barta explained. “The first group – the teachers and school district staff – donate to the Foundation through automatic payroll deductions. The second group – a collection of local business owners –  then collectively match whatever dollar amount the first group contributes.”

There are currently 10 businesses committed to this fundraiser: Hughes Ace Hardware, Premiere Financial Services, American West Bank, The Gazette Record, Benewah Community Hospital, Valley Vista Care Center, Timber Realty, Interstate Drilling and Pump, The Paperhouse and The Grub Box.

“The beauty of this idea is that because it lasts the course of a school year, it’s ongoing,” Mrs. Barta said. “Businesses and individuals can jump in at anytime. I plan to meet with other area business owners who have already expressed interest and hope to have several more committed to contribute to the matching donations.”

The non-profit organization was originally formed in 2001 by a group of volunteers with the purpose of supplementing local schools with additional funding. In less than a decade the organization has raised more than $20,000.

The Foundation currently has more than $17,000 available to grant to School District 41. Money is awarded to local schools through grant requests made by teachers and administrative staff.

Any businesses – or individuals – interested in contributing to the St. Maries Foundation for Education through this fundraiser or in any other way may contact Mrs. Barta at devondanelle@hotmail.com or mail checks payable to the group to P.O. Box 176 St. Maries, ID  83861. All donations are tax-deductible.

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