For 25 years, the Amphitheater Public Schools Foundation has augmented the educational experiences of students and teachers in Amphitheater Public Schools.
The quarter-century milestone makes this year’s Amphi Foundation gala something special. Lisa Humenik, executive director of the foundation, is compiling history, and people of long association are being invited to the March 28 event at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador.
The Amphi Foundation uses money from fund-raisers, gifts and investments to provide nearly $400,000 in annual assistance to district schools.
“What is unique and special about school foundations is they allow the local community to decide what special things they’d like in their schools above and beyond what government funding will provide,” said Humenik, executive director of the Amphi Foundation for about a year.
Humenik was previously involved with a school foundation in Iowa. Across the country, “each foundation is completely different. They respond to what the community wants.”
Amphi Foundation’s “big emphasis now” is the provision of technology in the classroom, “while we maintain other programs that have been traditionally part of the foundation,” Humenik said.
Through its 21st Century Classrooms Initiative, the Foundation helps put “the latest technology into the classroom,” Humenik said. Teachers and students gain access to “durable technologies that will enhance learning, academic performance and acquisition of critical technological skills,” a release said.
Specifically, the foundation continues to purchase “Smart” boards, the “interactive white board” for district classrooms.
Smart boards are “incredible,” Humenik said. The technology “allows the teacher to develop interactive lessons for the students, as well as quickly access online resources right there in front of the classrooms,” she said. “It’s got some incredible capabilities for improving learning, and also just engaging the kids.”
The foundation also operates a clothing bank, which has helped an average of 750 families a year and distributes more than 40,000 clothing items a year.
It offers an emergency fund that can cover anything from prescription coverage to payments for school or sports physical examinations, helps pay for math tutoring, pays the interscholastic activities fees for students who cannot afford them, provides three scholarships for students who plan to study education, and has student internships.
Money is also available for students to attend regional or national academic competitions.
This year, as an example, the foundation wants to assist the Canyon del Oro High School Academic Decathlon team, which won the Arizona state championship and is advancing to national competition in Memphis, Tenn., next month.
“We look at each request as it comes in to see whatever fund-raising they’ve done, and usually give them a per-student amount to put toward travel or expenses for a competition,” Humenik said.
In addition to the spring gala, the foundation has a fall bowl-a-thon, pursues grants from private foundations, and accepts general gifts from the community. The foundation also operates Sequels Upscale Resale, a North Oracle Road second-hand boutique it hopes will generate ongoing revenue to support the cause. Michele Thompson is the Sequels store manager. Sales at the North Oracle store are “still showing growth on a monthly basis,” Humenik said.
Foundation officers are board president Paul Willman, vice president Roseanne Lopez, and secretary Mary Snider. The board’s treasurer’s position is currently open.
WHAT: Amphi Foundation’s 25th-anniversary gala
WHEN: 6 p.m.-midnight, Saturday, March 28
WHERE: Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort
DETAILS: No-host cocktails, silent auction, dinner, Heart of Amphi awards, music by the Desert Cadillacs
COST: $115 per person, $1,100 for a table of 10
CONTACT: 696-5147; e-mail email@example.com