Q&A With Linda Heller, of the Montville Education Foundation

Heller Explains the Group's Goals and Achievements

The Montville Education Foundation, Inc. (MEF), founded in 2008, encourages lifelong learning beyond the traditional classroom curriculum.  MEF champions innovative educational opportunities for all members of the Montville community. 

The organization raises funds and returns these funds to the community in the form of educational school and community grants.

Since its inception in 2008, MEF has awarded over $13,000 to fund grants.  MEF awards grants in two grant cycles each year. Deadlines for applications are October 31 and April 30. 

MEF grants have been used to fund these outstanding programs: Mohegan Elementary School, Raising Readers Parent Club & Raising Readers Student Club: Explorers of Literacy, Tyl Middle School, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC)-Hospital CD Project, Stress Management Through Expressive Art, Tyl Middle School, Rachel’s Challenge, Montville Youth Services Bureau, Computers and Software and Oakdale Elementary School, Focus on Family-A Technology Art Adventure.

An interview with Linda Patton Heller, founding member and 2010 – 2011 President of the Montville Education Foundation provided personal insight, into this Montville community service organization:

Q:  What do you see as the primary mission of MEF?

A:   MEF seeks to continue the work of its founders, who set the organization on a path of being a positive catalyst for excellence in education within the Montville community. 

MEF seeks to help maintain the excellent academic reputation of the Montville school system.  This is more important than ever due to the current economic environment that has restricted school and town budgets.  MEF has focused its resources on enhancement of the Montville school curriculum, and community education and enrichment programs. 

The most satisfying achievement is to see how the Montville community is beginning to recognize what the foundation does, and embrace its mission.

What are some recent successes of MEF?

While there have been successes for this young foundation in terms of programs initiated and supported, the broadest success of MEF is that it is thriving through very tough economic times due to the unfailing generosity of the Montville community. 

Although MEF is a young foundation, with its efforts just getting off the ground, it awards up to $10,000 in grants each year.  I look forward to the years when MEF raises funds that allow it to grant awards annually totaling six to seven times these early amounts.

MEF is extremely proud of the programs funded, both the one-time programs and the ongoing, self-sustaining programs. Like a mother asked to choose among her children, I have no favorites. 

I would highlight the Raising Readers Parent and Student Club, at Mohegan Elementary School, where this program is geared toward children from pre-school through Grade 4 and engages the family to ensure the student’s success.  The program encourages lifelong reading through resources that support the child’s literacy development.  This program has been embraced by students, parents and teachers and will be used at the other elementary schools.

I would also point to the Montville Youth Services Bureau, which received funds to purchase much-needed computers and software for the youth who attend after school.  Over 50 percent of the children attending MYSB are on the honor roll consistently and MYSB attempts to be a positive influence on the child’s academic success.

How can people help MEF either through financial support or volunteerism?

There are several ways to support the Montville Education Foundation financially.  This February marked the second year of The Friends of the Foundation Annual Appeal, “We Believe in Montville.” 

Our annual campaign depends on the generosity of residents and businesses to support the foundation with a donation/gift. 

Donations can be made throughout the year…and no amount is too small.  This is one of two primary annual fundraising events; the other is the Annual MEF Golf Tournament. 

In its third year, this year’s tournament is Aug. 8 at River Ridge Golf Course in Griswold. 

Golfers of any level are welcome and sponsorship levels are available.  Another popular way to support the organization is through the Special Moments in Learning Everywhere Recognition Program, (SMILE) where individuals and families can recognize the excellent work of a Montville teacher, sports coach, activity coordinator, daycare provider, municipal worker, etc through a donation to MEF.  

Through the course of the year, other fund-raising events are announced, so stay tuned.  Finally there is a "donate" button on the website, www.montvilleeducationfoundation.org, where individuals can donate using Pay Pal.  The website has all the information about MEF plus downloads for applications, brochures and newsletters.

There are also ample opportunities to volunteer to be part of MEF.  MEF has 17 members on its board of directors, with each member serving a three-year term.  The Board is very much a working group, where each member either chairs and or serves on a committee.  Volunteering to help with committee work or at an event is a way to get involved.

A wonderful way to get involved with MEF is to submit a grant application for a program that will enhance learning in the schools or in the community.

What else should the Montville community know about MEF?

The Montville Education Foundation does not seek recognition for its activities.  Rather, it seeks to be a partner in promoting education in the schools and the community. 

While many cities and towns have education foundations, MEF is somewhat unique.  Most organizations focus on public school funding while MEF has a broader mission of encouraging learning for both the schools and community.  “Promoting a community of lifelong learners” is the MEF motto.


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