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The foundation was originally set up in the late 1980s to raise money to buy a baby grand piano. With that goal reached in 2002, it evolved into a loose program to raise money for school projects.
Larson, who started as a teacher in the district in 1973, retired as principal in 2004 and became involved in the foundation, registered it as a nonprofit and came up with the direct deposit idea as well as community fundraising. In grant applications, teachers need to show that a grant will enrich and enhance students academically.
The foundation awarded 22 grants this school year totaling $11,000 and an additional $3,000 in scholarships.
“It’s a bit of a cliché to say no teacher goes into it for the money. It’s a small expense for the staff to pay. We know the money goes directly to the benefit of the students, which you can’t always say with red tape and hoops to jump through with other grants,” Wilson said.
A $500 Centaur grant is paying for field marking paint, jump ropes and award ribbons for Earle Brown Elementary’s annual Field Days event. Each grade had a track and field day.
Painting the field for the event makes it seem more official for the kids, said elementary phy ed teacher Anne Foote.
“Just having a foundation that is willing to listen and support your ideas outside the budget is great. Having this opportunity is fantastic,” Foote said. “I was more than willing to give a little bit of my paycheck.”
Donations to the Centaur Foundation can be mailed to Brooklyn Center High School, 6500 Humboldt Av. N, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804