April 18, 2023

GHAPS Teachers Surprised by $42,000 in Granted Wishes

The nonprofit Grand Haven Schools Foundation (GHSF) surprised Grand Haven Area Public Schools (GHAPS) staff and teachers yesterday at celebrations across the district. GHSF board members arrived in pairs at 10 of the district’s campuses with certificates and giant checks to announce $42,000 in grant awards.

"We are forever grateful for our supporters,” says GHSF Executive Director Susan Bays. "Their generosity is directly impacting important, quality initiatives that benefit students and empower learning. We’ve been working hard to expand our reach and as the endowment grows, we want our impact to grow as well.”

For the first time, the foundation used an application process to award mini grants of up to $500 to teachers and staff in all grades. This is an expansion of last year’s preK-4 grant funding. Over $11,500 in mini-grant funding will back specific teacher requests in math support, reading, books, behavioral incentives, STEM materials and more.

The GHSF also announced several larger grants to support a variety of district needs. “Collaborating with principals and instructional coaches, we were able to identify some important common requests,” says GHAPS Curriculum Director Mary Jane Evink. “We appreciate how mindful the foundation is about using their resources in ways that directly benefit Grand Haven students.” Among them are decodable books for early-elementary classrooms, math recovery professional development, and hands-on math manipulatives for elementary classrooms.

In total, the foundation has provided more than $99,800 in grants and preschool scholarships this school year, increasing its financial impact on initiatives that directly improve academic readiness and success for all.

In the fall, the GHSF surprised each of the district’s 11 new K-6 teachers with a $500 grant to begin building their classroom library. Title I elementary schools Mary A. White, Ferry, Griffin and Lake Hills, each received $2,000 to bolster their field trip fund. This is the second year these grants were made possible by the GHSF.

Full-tuition preschool scholarships represent a significant portion of the foundation’s giving, making high-quality preschool available to nearly 800 families since 2005. “Quality preschool programs improve kindergarten readiness and set these young learners up for success from the start,” Bays explains. This year, the foundation awarded more than $43,000 in tuition scholarships, allowing 31 preschoolers to attend the GHAPS Preschool Development Program despite financial barriers.

The Grand Haven Schools Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports a quality education for students through funding initiatives that empower learning. The Foundation supports academic readiness, lifetime learning and success for all. To learn more, apply for a preschool scholarship or become a donor, please visit GHSF.org.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools is a district of distinction for students in preschool through 12th grade. With a goal of providing exceptional educational experiences, GHAPS is committed to success for all students and strives to provide exemplary programs and opportunities to meet their diverse needs.