Q&A: E.O. Foundation Board

Questions and Answers About the Mission and Work of the Board


Staff Photo

The E.O. Smith Foundation’s actions have been a positive force in our school community for years. During Teacher Appreciation Week, for example, the foundation displayed the above banner while also providing a breakfast and gift cards for teachers. The foundation is best known for providing substantial funds to improve the learning and community experience at E.O.

The E.O. Smith Foundation Board, which spearheaded the recent, highly-successful Panther Challenge fundraiser for clubs and sports teams, responded to several Panther Press questions, providing insight into its work and the ways in which the organization helps our school. The group’s work is featured in a current article, which can be found by clicking here

Q: How did the idea for the fall fundraiser come about? What purpose did it serve? What was different about this event that made it so successful?

A: We were considering ways to fundraise for The Edwin O. Smith Foundation, and after looking into online fundraising platforms we realized we could think much bigger than that. Almost every club and team at the school needed funds for something – especially coming out of the pandemic. The typical ways for a team or club to fundraise, like ticket sales, were not possible due to covid restrictions.  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.

Q: Once you started, how much work did it entail? Were you surprised by the number of groups that became involved and raised money?

A: Since this was the first year we did it, we were not sure what to expect.  It took a few months of planning and following-up with team leaders to get them on board but we quickly had over 25 teams!  This was surprising to me – I assumed because it was new that it would take more convincing to get teams on board.  It turns out that most students, advisors, and coaches had some kind of experience with this kind of fundraiser, mainly from seeing similar appeals from other non-profits on their social media feeds.

Q: What purpose do you hope the money serves? Are there certain things that an organization can or cannot do with the money?

A: We hope that the money will allow the students to have quality learning and social experiences. The Foundation has not limited what the organizations can do with their money.

Q: So were you surprised by the succes? How did it compare with other years? Is this something that can be done annually?

A: Because it was the first year, I think we were all surprised by the success.  It can definitely be done annually and we are already thinking about how to improve it next year!  It was amazing to see the many sponsors who said yes at the start, the team leaders who bravely volunteered to give this a try, and the donors who all gave generously.   

Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to the foundation’s work? Are there any priorities or special projects you have moving forward?

The Foundation has helped to fund many projects and student experiences over the years through grants and scholarships and many people do not know about it.  

Right now the application for staff and teacher grants is up, and our board is looking forward to reading the submissions and potentially awarding up to $30,000 in grant funds in June.

Q: How does working with your colleagues make the board’s work more satisfying? Do you share a sense of common cause?

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.