DOBSON — The Surry County Schools Educational Foundation plans to honor veteran educator Ralph O. Lanier on Feb. 7 in the second of its named endowments. According to Foundation Liason Melissa White, Lanier will be recognized after the girls varsity basketball game at Surry Central High School.
“We will be holding the recognition ceremony in the gym with a reception following in the school media center,” said White. “We encourage former students, co-workers and staffers to come out and help us honor Mr. Lanier’s career.” She said he was the first principal at Surry Central when the school opened its doors in 1962 and served as a principal at the post for approximately 21 years and had previously served at Mount Park as well.
White explained the named endowment program is a relatively new program for the foundation. She said the minimum amount for a named endowment fund is $5,000. A “future” fund may be started with an initial contribution of $1,000 and a commitment to reach the minimum amount within five years.
“The endowments go to help fund our efforts to provide additional educational opportunities for Surry County students,” White said. “We had considered this type of program early on but felt we had to get ourselves established as an non-profit foundation first before proceeding.” She said the foundation had raised more than $300,000 since it began three years ago.
She said endowed funds may be designated for specific areas including mini grants for teachers, professional development, arts and music, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), educational field trip assistance and other areas approved by the foundation board of trustees.
She stressed endowments and donations do not have to be for educators alone but can be made in memory of someone or to honor those who have helped out their communities. White said one way to support the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation is for residents to include it in their wills with donations including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, real estate and personal property.
She explained family and friends are usually the first to be remembered in a will. After all the distributions have been made to loved ones, a provision could be made that the remainder of the estate be given to the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation. Persons who donate can stipulate either a percentage of the estate or a fixed dollar amount be given to the foundation.
The establishment of the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation began in January 2011. White said the foundation was created by a group of local business leaders who are passionate about education and the future of Surry County. Board members believe investing in children’s education will impact the future of Surry County’s economy.
She said she the foundation will increase the level of education in the county by helping students pursue higher education and rewarding teachers with professional learning opportunities and extraordinary classroom projects. Persons may obtain more information by calling White at 336-386-8211.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.