A new endowment fund creating by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation (LPEF) will help school children and families in need.
For more than 20 years, LPEF has provided Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) funds to La Crosse public schools, allowing school staff to provide support discreetly to children in need, when they need it, with no questions asked and no application required. Those needs could include anything from clothing to school supplies, eyeglasses, hygiene supplies, or money for field trips.
In the most recent full school year, RAK met a student need more than 2,400 times, allowing children to stay focused on school. Across 15 schools, the total cost for the RAK program is nearly $30,000 per year, according to LPEF. That spending is on the rise.
Previously, LPEF relied on annual fundraising from businesses and individuals to meet the need. Now, LPEF is creating the RAK Forever Fund – an endowment fund that will generate annual income to help offset the cost and make it easier to avoid limiting RAK spending due to fluctuations in fundraising.
The campaign goal is $400,000, and LPEF announced this week more than $300,000 was already raised. There was also a leadership gift of $90,000 from a donor who wished to remain anonymous. Other major community gifts or pledges have been received from Altra Federal Credit Union, Coulee Bank, Sabina Bosshard, Dahl Family Foundation, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Elmwood Foundation, Fowler & Hammer Fund, Mayo Clinic Health System, Richard T. Record, Sue Anne Gelatt Foundation, Trane Family Foundation, and Trust Point.
Additionally, donations have been made by all members of the LPEF Board, staff, and campaign leaders.
A permanently restricted fund has been established at Trust Point Inc., and only earnings on the principal will be used to support the annual RAK expenses. LPEF said amounts raised so far will produce income to cover about half the annual cost, so every gift gets LPEF closer to full, long-term sustainability for the program.
About half of RAK funds each year go to basic needs like clothing, bedding, laundry, health exams, and hygiene supplies. A quarter of funds goes to transportation to and from school, and another quarter to fees to participate in extracurricular learning experiences.
Those who want to donate or learn more can visit the campaign website at RAKEForever.org.