The Mounds View Schools Education Foundation announced Friday that it has received a $750,000 donation, the largest ever in the foundation’s 30-year history.

The gift from the William, Rose and Norma Bailiff Memorial Scholarship will provide dozens of students with college scholarships and was announced Friday morning at the North Oaks Golf Club.

The scholarships, which will be awarded annually, will be available primarily for low-income Irondale and Mounds View High School students, said Gail Gaylord, a Bailiff family relative and executor of the fund. She said the goal is that the donation will supply scholarships for 30 years.

Jonathan Weinhagen, board president for the Mounds View Schools Education Foundation, said the focus on low-income students fits well with the district’s work addressing equity issues.

“The fund really serves to be that extra layer for our students to make sure they have postsecondary opportunities,” he said.

He said the $750,000 donation is more than twice the foundation’s annual budget.

William and Rose Bailiff lived in the Mounds View area and died several decades ago. They were strong advocates of education and encouraged their three daughters to continue their learning beyond high school.

This recent gift is from the trust fund of their daughter Norma Bailiff, who died in December 2013. The family first began donating to the Mounds View Schools Education Foundation that year.

Norma, who lived frugally, was a longtime resident of the Mounds View School District and shared her family’s passion for public education, Gaylord said. Norma’s desire to donate her money was apparent and the decision to give to the foundation was easy, she said.

“[Norma] said, ‘I don’t want it to go to any family member. I want it to go to education,’ ” Gaylord said.

Six or seven students will be awarded the scholarships each year. Students can receive up to $5,000 over the course of four years. The fund will also provide scholarships for students pursuing two-year and graduate degrees.

Gaylord said her favorite part of working with the foundation is selecting and getting the chance to meet the scholarship recipients.

“These kids are so deserving of scholarships for education. It really is a real pleasure to do this,” she said.

 

Haley Hansen is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.