The Toledo Public Schools Foundation has a 25-year history, but in October 2017, the foundation took a major step in its mission of revitalization by naming a new executive director. What was an organization that awarded scholarships once a year to TPS students is now becoming an established nonprofit that focuses on providing year-round support to students, teachers and the district as a whole.
Executive Director Erica Halada will lead the once volunteer-supported group to strategic growth that will impact students throughout the district.
A Mission that Goes Beyond Scholarships
A Toledo Blade article published on November 23, 2017 outlined Halada’s thoughts regarding the foundation’s growth, which will include expanded financial support to students pursuing alternative post-secondary education options, classroom grants, increased preschool opportunities — and, of course, a focus on growing a strong and involved network of TPS alumni.
Under the leadership of Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/superintendent, Toledo Public Schools has expanded its programs and support to students at each stage of their education — an effort that has made a significant impact in student performance and the district’s success. With the district making this investment, it only made sense for the TPS Foundation to expand its efforts to include more than traditional scholarships.
Dr. Durant explained, “It is really supporting TPS on the front end with early childhood, on the back end with apprenticeships and scholarships and in the middle with schools that can request funding for programs that fit our mission and vision.”
Engaging TPS Alumni
To grow the foundation in the direction that the board wishes, it is crucial to create a network of engaged TPS alumni. One of the goals put forth by the executive director is to engage with graduates — both those who are local, and graduates who may no longer be in the Toledo area but believe in the foundation's mission. Not only will a connected group of graduates help to strengthen support, it will also help the foundation to grow the endowment fund.
Bob LaClair, TPSF board member and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, said, “The board really feels like we’ve got an opportunity with alumni who have gone on to be successful to build up an endowment.” This endowment will then directly support the mission of the foundation and make an impact in the lives of TPS students.
“It is really exciting to think about what the alumni association can be in years to come, and I think if we engage the right way, the dollars will come,” said Halada.
Making a Difference in the Community
If the strides the foundation has made in just two short years is any indication, there are nothing but good things to come for the students in the TPS district. As Halada shared with the Toledo Blade, “A flourishing public school system means higher employment rates, lower crime rates, a healthier community, and lower poverty rates. We should all have a stake in that.”