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Hastings Public Schools Foundation is accepting grant applications

Innovative, creative, challenging.

These are some of the words to describe the work of the Hastings Public Schools Foundation, founded by the community to provide funds for new, unique learning opportunities not available through current public funding. It is operated independently of the school district.

Applications for the next round of "What If" grants is under way and will continue through November. The awards will be announced in spring. A total of $60,000 is available.

The "What If" grants are given to educators by the foundation to invest in students by allowing their teachers a chance to bring their ideas and dreams into reality.

The first grants were delivered to successful teachers in the fall of 2004.

The Hastings Public Schools Foundation believes in impacting education by allowing teachers to dream and enabling children to learn. The State of Minnesota is committed to providing an education to children through public funding. The Hastings Public Schools Foundation is committed to providing additional educational funds so the students in Hastings schools can succeed.

The foundation also believes that each donor is making a valuable commitment to the future of the community through the creation of programs that not only educate, but also motivate, the children to make a difference.

The community has made a commitment -- a $1 million endowment fund -- to the future of innovative education for all of the children. That fund will continue to fund education regardless of the economic climate.

The children are the means through which the foundation will change the future for Hastings and the other communities in which they will live, the foundation said.

The current executive board members of the Hastings Public Schools Foundations are Sharon Avent, president; Jean Langlais, treasurer/secretary co-chair fundraising committee; Joyce Sieben co-chair grant selection committee; Rita Molitor, co-chair grant selection committee; and Leslie Nielsen, co-chair fundraising committee. Other board members are Tom Ditty, Doug Erickson, Jim Reissner, and Skip Soleim. Richard (Pinky) McNamara is director emeritus; and superintendent Tim Collins is an ex officio board member.

More information about the Hastings Public Schools Foundation and the grant application process is available at