E.O Smith Foundation Online Fundraiser is a Success!

E.O Smith Foundation raised $71,093 for clubs and sports.


Staff Photo

Rogue trap bars for lifting weights are a new addition to the E.O. workout room.

Christina Cherniske, Staff Writer

As you all may know by now, the E. O. Smith Foundation held their first online fundraiser early this school year as part of their consistent and long-standing support of our high school. The Panther Challenge 2021, with 29 clubs and teams participating, raised a total of $71,093 – or $21,093 more than the original goal of $50,000. With the success of this fundraiser, many opportunities have opened for these clubs and teams. 

Ms. Abercrombie, the advisor of E.O Smith’s Drama Club, is planning to use the money raised to fund the E.O original musical Antlersong set to run the weekend of May 21-22, written and directed by senior Emma J. Smith. She further explained, “We also plan to use funds to purchase rights, costumes, and set/construction materials for future senior-directed one act plays.  We’ll also use funds to defray costs of show-related T-shirts for cast and crew.” 

The Panther Press itself participated and is using the funds to keep our newspaper online and grow our club! The club also benefited from a grant earlier this year to start its online presence. “We could not have sustained the existence of any relevant product without their [the E.O Smith Foundation’s] help.” said Mr. Kennedy, the advisor of the Panther Press. 

E.O’s sports teams also participated, raising funds to make valuable improvements. Mr.  Uriano, the Athletic Director of E.O, stated, “Many of our programs use the money to make meaningful enhancements that are above and beyond what the athletic department is able to provide. Some of the money is also used toward our commitment to equity and diversity.” Below are some examples of these meaningful enhancements:

  • Soccer – using funds to help subsidize an August tournament in Cape Cod
  • Softball – using funds to contribute to constructing a permanent outfield fence and warning track as well as purchasing cold weather gear and apparel 
  • Boys Lacrosse – purchased a pixellot camera for automated game recording and plans to help finance expensive equipment
  • Track – paid for new school record cases to display achievements such as updated girls track records

Athletics was also awarded a $6,000 grant used to upgrade the weight room. Larger equipment such as a glute-hamstring raise machine, lifting bars, collars, bumper plates, trap bars was among what was purchased. Since the fall season, the new equipment has been frequently used to prepare teams for competitions. 

The E.O Smith Foundation is a group that raises (tax exempt) funds through donations from individuals, businesses, organizations, and foundations. All the money they raise is to support clubs, projects, programs, and grants that are not normally in the school budget. Teachers have the opportunity to apply for smaller grants that directly enhance student experience, and some, such as the Panther Press, took advantage of a process that allows for immediate support. “The Edwin O. Smith Foundation Board of Directors is a committed group of people who truly care about the students of E.O. Smith High School. As alumni, parents of current students, parents of alumni and faculty of the school, the Board works together to make sure students have great high school opportunities.” said the Foundation Board.

To find out more about just what the Foundation does, we asked several questions to the Foundation Board. One being how the idea of the Panther Challenge originated. Because of the recent pandemic, fundraising for student activities and clubs has been down, the usual ticket sales and other fundraisers unable to take place because of covid restrictions. “Almost every club and team at the school needed funds for something – especially coming out of the pandemic,” the board explained. “We realized that the foundation was in a unique position to help by simply providing the fundraising platform to allow the clubs and teams to raise funds for themselves.” 

The board was also asked if they were surprised at the incredible success of the fundraiser – since this was their first ever online fundraiser. They were. Because of this success, the foundation is planning to run the event annually and has started to make improvements for next year! Often going unnoticed, the foundation is actually the main funding for many projects, grants, and student experiences around the school. Their use of funds is not limited, and they can possibly award teachers up to $30,000 in grants. Ms. Rowett and Mr. Santasiere are the contacts for faculty here at the school. 

Overall, many opportunities would not be possible at E.O if it wasn’t for the E.O Smith Foundation. Their help and support for teachers, staff, and students truly makes a difference throughout the school community.

Editor’s Note: The full Q&A with the Board can be found by clicking here.