QUINCY -- Reaugh and Ned Broemmel hope to use their passion for public education to boost a campaign to benefit the community and today's students.
The Broemmels head the Dream Big Campaign, a scaled-up annual campaign for the Quincy Public Schools Foundation that kicked off Thursday night with a goal of raising $150,000 by the end of December.
Both Quincy High School graduates and former QPS teachers, the Broemmels want today's students to have the same opportunities they did. "What we'd like to do is help people understand that a vibrant school system creates a vibrant community," Reaugh Broemmel said.
"The raising of the money the foundation is doing is critical," Ned Broemmel said. "One key factor is getting across to the people in this community and people who have graduated from here the need. They look at the new buildings, the school buses and think why do we need money, but they're missing the point."
The campaign streamlines the foundation's ongoing efforts to raise funds to support small and large needs not covered by the school district's budget and provide grants of up to $1,500 to staff for innovative ideas or teaching practices.
QPS Foundation Board President Rachel Hansen said, "We want to let people know if you think it's a good idea to support public schools, here we are. This is how you can help. It's always important for us to do well in all our fundraising efforts so we can continue to fill in the gaps for teachers and the kids in the public schools."
QPS Foundation Executive Director Kent Embree said no gift is too small to make a difference for the school district's future.
"We'll be reaching out to folks that we know have a heart for the public schools as well as those that we have strong business partnerships with," Embree said.
Most financial support for the foundation typically comes from private donors, and this year's effort will place greater emphasis on reaching out to alumni for support to help meet the district's growing, and often expensive, technology and curriculum needs.
The foundation, for example, worked with another foundation to provide about $300,000 in new K-5 science curriculum two years ago and then expand that curriculum into the junior high.
"We all feel like taxes should pay for those basic needs, but they're not, so we have to decide as a community how we're going to deal with that," QPS Foundation Executive Director Kent Embree said. Gifts to "the foundation is a great way to maintain the excellence in the public schools."
Superintendent Roy Webb praised the foundation for its support for things the district should be paying for on its own.
"We're working on that so the foundation can do bigger and better things for our district, but we're still dependent on the foundation for some things critical to education," Webb said. "Thank goodness they're here."
Proceeds from the Night to Dream Big annual gala, slated for Nov. 2, will go toward the campaign, which Hansen believes has a "doable" goal to generate additional unrestricted funding for foundation operations, grants and district needs.
"The community is so supportive of public schools. At the end of the day, no matter who you are, this community needs strong education," she said.
The campaign targets curriculum, technology, fine arts, athletics and endowment needs.
"We're looking to help operations of the foundation as well as those other four pillars within the district," Embree said. "Obviously curriculum and technology are at the forefront, but there's also fine arts and athletic needs that we want to be able to help with. We'd like to be able to take some of the pressure off the booster clubs."
How to Help
More information about to how to support the Dream Big Campaign is available by calling the Quincy Public Schools Foundation at 217-228-7112 and at qpsfoundation.org.