Newspaper Profiles Retiring Education Foundation Leader Jennifer Thomas '73

Newspaper Profiles Retiring Education Foundation Leader Jennifer Thomas '73

June 14, 2014

"Our mission is enhancing opportunities for kids in classrooms, and it has never changed from that," says Jennifer A. Thomas, executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation in Indiana.  Thomas, a 1973 graduate of DePauw University, is retiring at the nd of this month. "We have been able to grow significantly," she tells the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, "but we have not drifted from that mission." (photo by Tribune-Star's Joseph C. Garza)

In 14 years at its helm, "Thomas has helped the foundation, a non-profit, volunteer-based organization formed in 1984, to grow from about $29,000 in donations/gifts in 2000 to more than $220,000 for 2013-2014," reports Howard Greninger. "The foundation in 2013 raised more than $329,000 and distributed more than $186,000 in grants and awards. The foundation’s operating expenses were more than $85,600. The foundation for 2013 reported endowment funds, savings, investment and cash of more than $990,500."

An elementary education major at DePauw, Jennifer Anshutz Thomas worked as anelementary school teacher in suburban Chicago and took the foundation's leadership role after returning to Terre Haute.

She recalls, "I took it on because … I had been a volunteer ectower duskin the schools and I had been a teacher and I saw how hard teachers worked, and how much extra support they could use and how much difference community involvement could make in the work of the schools. We have worked ever since to connect the business community with the school corporation, both in dollars and in access, and being able to let the business community see what is going on in the schools and visa versa."

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