WATERTOWN — Applications for Safe Schools Endeavor Grants are now available for projects and programs taking place during the 2019-2020 school year.
Through a partnership with the Northern New York Community Foundation (NNYCF), the Safe Schools Endeavor is working to support school safety for students, teachers, faculty, and staff in K-12 schools across Jefferson and Lewis counties.
“We see this as a shared responsibility, schools are the hub of our community, so any support we can give is imperative,” Erika F. Flint, executive director of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) and chairwoman of the Safe Schools Endeavor, said. “Our only failure can come from inaction.”
Last year, the first year for this grant, nearly $30,000 in funding was awarded to 15 schools across the two counties for the 2018-2019 school year.
According to Kenneth J. Eysaman, director of communications at the NNYCF, all money raised is from private philanthropy, the foundation doesn’t take government money at all, meaning all programs are fueled by private donations.
“This is a testament to the commitment donors have to making schools safe before something happens,” he said. “This program is successful because the communities have embraced it.”
Recipients last year included Alexandria Central School, which received $2,200 to purchase the Raptor Security System; Case Middle School, awarded $2,500 to purchase lockdown items; Indian River Middle School, given $2,467.90 to purchase safety vests, radios and trauma bags; and Sackets Harbor Central School, which received $2,100 to purchase security cameras.
All schools in Jefferson and Lewis counties are eligible and encouraged to seek grant funding for projects, programs, and initiatives that will strengthen school safety and improve student and school culture.
According to Ms. Flint, the idea for the endeavor came about last February after the Parkland school shooting and was designed to take action in the local community.
“We know our schools are already doing so much, so we want them to know they aren’t in this alone,” she said. “This is a shared responsibility, and we’re opening up a funding avenue to allow for some innovation instead of being prescriptive about funds.”
The Safe Schools Endeavor will consider applications submitted by students, teachers, faculty, staff, and parents, and proposals that are student-led or involve close collaboration with students may receive additional weight as funding is considered.
Proposals can include student or parent programming, equipment, faculty and staff training, or anything else that an individual or group within the school community believes would enhance the overall safety of the school and its members.
Individuals and groups can request any amount in their applications, but typical grants range from $1,000 to $2,500 per school.
All projects and programs must occur in the 2019-2020 school year and be approved by the respective school district.
Both public and private schools in Jefferson and Lewis counties are encouraged to apply for the grants, the deadline to submit proposals for funding consideration is Monday, Nov. 4. Applicants will be notified after Jan. 1, 2020 with a funding decision.
Applications may be submitted to: Northern New York Community Foundation, ATTN: Safe Schools Endeavor, 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY, 13601.
Businesses and organizations that have made monetary gifts to support the Safe Schools Endeavor include ABC 50/InformNNY.com, Foy Benefits, Inc., Northern Credit Union, Watertown Savings Bank, Westelcom, and the Heather A. Freeman Foundation.
“We are proud to tell our donors that 100% of the funding goes to the schools, we don’t take a single penny, even the stamps we use are from volunteers,” Ms. Flint said.