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PEOF meet challenge grant goal


POTSDAM - When the Potsdam Educational Opportunities Fund (PEOF) was first formed in 2012, the non-profit organization aimed at supporting the Potsdam Central School District was given a $100,000 challenge grant by an anonymous couple who had attended the school.

PEOF Chairman Devon Shipp said the challenge was accepted and through a series of fundraisers and solicitation efforts, the goal was met.

“Since PEOF was founded in 2012, they have been able to raise close to $200,000,” Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said, before introducing Mr. Shipp at this week’s board of education meeting.

Given those totals, which included the anonymous donation, Mr. Shipp said, “We’re happy to report that the challenge given to us by an anonymous match was met.”

PEOF is a fund managed by the Northern New York Community Foundation, who Mr. Shipp said has been an excellent partner to the group overseeing the fund.

Given that the challenge was met this past October and the group had until December to raise $100,000, Mr. Shipp said they even slightly exceeded their goal.

“The Northern New York Community Foundation requested that they match the excess and they agreed,” Mr. Shipp said, noting much of the money collected to date had been used to create an endowment for the fund. That endowment, he said, now has a balance of roughly $180,000.

PEOF’s annual fund, he said, has a balance of approximately $7,600, which is awarded through grants teachers in the district apply for to fund various programs and activities that they would wish to offer.

“We hope to spend that down pretty much every year,” he said, adding this year the group was able to fund nine proposals.

“There’s a variety of activities and things we’ve funded across all three schools,” Mr. Shipp said.

Mr. Brady asked Mr. Shipp if there was anything the administration or school board could do to assist PEOF.

Mr. Shipp answered that question, by saying it’s OK to brag about Potsdam Central and its programs.

“We tend to sell ourselves short,” he said, adding that it’s OK to talk up the school in the community or if you meet Potsdam alumni while traveling.

Donations to PEOF may be sent to the Northern New York Community Foundation; 120 Washington St., Suite 400; Watertown, NY 13601. Checks should be made payable to: The Northern New York Community Foundation with PEOF wrote on the check’s memo line.

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