Twenty years ago, Dr. Brenda Winkler, then Superintendent of the Kutztown Area School District, called together local businessmen to discuss creating an Education Foundation for the district, only the second in Berks County.
The late DeLight Breidegam Jr., co-founder of Deka Battery, now East Penn Manufacturing, and Attorney Robert P. Grim immediately embraced the concept. While the foundation was the brainchild of Dr. Winkler, she states that Mr. Breidegam was committed to giving back to the community, serving for 14 years on the foundation’s board and setting an example of generous giving to provide opportunities for Kutztown students and their families.
Attorney Grim prepared documents which led to Pennsylvania approval of tax-exempt status as well as IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization eligibility which allows the foundation to accept tax-deductible donations.
Fast forward 20 years, the KASD Education Foundation remains strongly committed to its original mission, “to enhance educational opportunities in the district’s schools and communities, and to recognize the superior achievements of district students and alumni.”
The all-volunteer board takes pride in the many accomplishments of the Kutztown community and how it has rallied behind the school district’s students, teachers, and administration.
During the past 20 years, the Foundation and its donor partners have raised $1,171, 904 for senior scholarships. Since 2003, when the first Foundation scholarships were awarded, 326 scholarships have been presented to outstanding Kutztown seniors.
In addition to the scholarship program, the Foundation has received a total of $358,000 tax credit dollars from local businesses through the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. These monies have provided resources to support many of the school district’s exemplary technology initiatives.
Foundation support has had a direct impact on helping the schools implement recent pandemic mitigation protocols including remote learning, with the previous EITC funded laptops for middle and high school students, and expanded outdoor classroom settings with tent rentals at each school funded through the Foundation General Fund.
The Foundation also recognizes exceptional Kutztown High Alumni, having honored 13 individuals to date, including well-known names such as Marvin Schlenker, Class of 1945, co-founder of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports”, and world-renowned contemporary artist Keith Haring, Class of 1976, among others. (See www.KASDEDFoundation.org/Alumni)
Dr. Winkler recently shared, “It’s magical that we’ve come this far. I want to thank everyone who has supported the Foundation’s initiatives through the years when I served as superintendent of Kutztown Area School District and then, as executive director of the Foundation. It is now time for me to turn over the role to our next executive director, Mrs. Kathy Metrick, also a retired KASD superintendent. I am thrilled that she agreed to assume this role since she too feels a special connection to the school district and community.”
Metrick observed that “A lot has changed in the 20 years of the Foundation’s existence, but a lot has remained the same. When Brenda first conceived of the idea, she never envisioned the scale of impact the Education Foundation has attained. I am excited about the Foundation’s future and look forward to working on its continuing journey.”
The KASD Education Foundation plans a yearlong 20th anniversary celebration of accomplishments, focusing on various opportunities to further support the school district moving forward. They will seek donations of $20 or any multiple thereof in honor of 20 successful years.
If interested in any of the programs funded or supported by the Foundation, please contact their office at 610-683-7361 ext. 5105 or visit the Foundation website at www.kasdedfoundation.org.