Celebrating 21 years of partnerships


Tune in tomorrow for the annual Blount County Education Foundation Radiothon and hear (front, from left) Les Neel, Rodney Green, Jim Henderson and (back) Gregg Armstrong. -Blount County Education Foundation

Tune in tomorrow for the annual Blount County Education Foundation Radiothon and hear (front, from left) Les Neel, Rodney Green, Jim Henderson and (back) Gregg Armstrong. -Blount County Education Foundation

We are just hours away from the 21st Blount County Education Foundation Radiothon, in which the foundation will be raising money and celebrating partnerships with all who have made this program a success for more than 21 years. Without partners, the success of the program would not be possible.

Promptly at 8 a.m., on Thursday, Sept. 26, foundation members will take control of WCRL radio for nine hours of taking on-air donations, as well as talking with and about those who have benefitted from the generous contributions of others.The phone number to make a donation that day is 205-274-9530.

Last year, members of the foundation signed off the air with more than half a million dollars in contributions and hopes that this year’s contributions will top that amount.Since its creation in 1998, total contributions exceed $3.5 million making it possible to award 2,155 grants and fund numerous learning activities.

Though the amount of contributions can be documented, it has been determined that the output will far exceed the input. Last year, more than $160,000 was awarded through 183 teacher grants. These grants allowed teachers to implement fun, unique, and creative ways for students to learn. Other contributions were used to support 26 summer camps, nine summer library programs, one six-week Dreamcatchers camp, installation of STEAM Labs, the Visual Art Exhibition, the Math Tournament, the LEGO Competition, and so much more.

Students from every county school benefit from this campaign. One hundred percent of contributions go toward impacting students. Executive director Mitchie Neel said, “We take it in for the kids, and we give it out for the kids.” Neel also noted that contributions are not being held in a bank account somewhere. Money is given out almost immediately. This year’s grant winners will be announced on Nov. 26.

Donations can be great or small, and the foundation welcomes any contributions. “Once all monetary gifts are collectively put together, the impact is huge. What we can do together is so powerful,” Neel said.

As in the past, donors who make a significant contribution will earn a partnership title. Those partnerships range from a BCEF Partner for a $250 contribution to a BCEF Diamond Partnership for a $2,000 contribution. Grants in the amount of $750 or more will fund a specified grant.

The foundation also accepts Endowed Grant Partner options, which creates a permanent grant award of $750 or $1,000 each year for those contributing $15,000 or $20,000 respectively. Donors that contribute enough funds to create a grant award have the option of designating which school receives the grant.

To support the Blount County Education Foundation’s mission of promoting academic excellence in Blount County Schools and to help make a difference in the life of a student, be sure to tune in at FM 95.3, FM 94.7, the WCRL app, or www.wcrlradio.com from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26. Any amount of donation will be accepted. Neel said, “The foundation can not do its work without its partners. We are grateful for the partnerships, so that we can make a difference in student’s lives.”

The BCEF wishes to thank everyone for considering making a contribution and supporting them as they work to boost children’s success in Blount County. For more information, call 205-775-1950 or visit the website at www.blountboe.net.