Public Schools Foundation Falls Short, Still Sees Success in Fundraiser During Pandemic

By Jeremy Coumbes on June 30, 2020 at 3:17pm

The Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation wrapped up this year’s Believe in Education drawing last week, and organizers say it was still successful, despite the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Director Amy Albers says although they saw strong support from the community, the COVID-19 pandemic did hurt the foundation’s ability to raise funds this year.

It was successful because this sure was a challenging year. We were not able to sell tickets through the schools as we normally had, we were only able to sell at two area businesses this year, and people really came out to support the foundation. We obviously made less and sold less tickets than we normally do, but I was really pleased with our results this year.”

Albers says the foundation normally raises about $20,000 from the Believe in Education fundraiser each year. She says this year they were able to raise
$13,000 despite being very limited in how they could sell tickets.

This is our big signature fundraiser that we do every year. We got the tickets out in the mail right before everything closed down, so I am grateful that happened. And it is really what sustains us throughout the year, it’s out big one. We do other little fundraisers and our annual campaign that we do in the fall and send out to our loyal supporters.

This is what sustains the foundation, it’s what let’s us keep the doors open, it’s what let’s us provide coats and shoes and grants and different things. It’s untargeted funds so we are able to use them for whatever needs arise and we just never know every year, and without it well, this is what keeps our doors open.”

The Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation relies on the fundraising efforts to continue providing support to both students and educators in District 117.

Besides assisting in the distribution of school supplies, the foundation also collects and distributes coats and shoes to needy children, and manages and funds numerous scholarships.

The Foundation also conducts targeted support programs such as collecting used musical instruments and cash donations so that students who can’t afford to purchase or rent instruments, are still able to participate in music programs.

Albers says the Foundation board and the school district are always open to discuss new ideas that could potentially help area students.

The foundation has supported such a variety of efforts throughout it’s 34 years, and everything is worth a discussion. The school board accepts our gifts, and our donations. People come to us with requests and it’s something that is really important to us and something that deserves the thought that goes in to it. People trust us with their money, to be accountable with it and to make good decisions with it that are going to benefit the most students and educators, and we really take that to heart.”

If you would like to contribute to the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation, you can do so by going to the District 117 website at and clicking on the Public Schools Foundation link. You can also contact Albers with any questions at 217-243-9411, Ext. 1133