The Geneva Academic Foundation (GAF) was founded in 1987 by a group of citizens to examine ways to finance computer labs in each of Geneva’s schools. The School Board initiated the meeting telling the citizens that based on the Board of Education budget, the project would take at least five years before computer labs could be placed in all of the schools. The citizens saw this time-line as a less than desirable solution, so they formed the Geneva Academic Foundation in February of 1987. The founding board members were: Bud Gilligan, Jack Ryan, Wayne Woltman, Jan Crooch, Dick Lindholm, Gregg Nelson, John VanThournout, Mack Olson, Steve Kelm, Mary Ellen Hulce and Kate Unterberg, who represented the student body. Bob Turnbull and Becki Blauser were the teacher representatives for the foundation.
The Geneva Academic Foundation was created as a not-for-profit organization to provide funds for the academic “extras” in the Geneva public schools for which the tax dollars could not provide. More specifically, the GAF’s goal is to provide supplemental programs, equipment, and learning experiences to insure that Geneva school students continue to succeed in our technologically complex and culturally diverse society. Through generous funding from individuals, small businesses, and corporations, the organization continues to provide, on an annual basis, equipment and programs for all grade levels that will enrich and elevate the educational opportunities of our children. Geneva Academic Foundation is also committed to the long-term success of Geneva’s schools, so a portion of the funds raised every year is allocated to an endowment fund which has been set up to enhance programs for our schools in the future.
Everyone in our community is welcome to become a member of the Geneva Academic Foundation’s Board. Board members work on these committees: Endowment, Strategic Planning, Project Search, Awareness, Fund Raising, and Membership. Every year, citywide mailings ask Geneva residents for donations/memberships and as an initial step to supporting this goal. Membership information is also included in school registration packets each year. In addition, auctions, raffles, and other fundraising efforts are held in order to raise money to purchase items requested by individuals who submit grant proposals to the GAF at the beginning of the school year. In 2009, the Geneva Academic Foundation reached an important milestone because since its founding in 1987, GAF has donated over $1,000,000.00 to the Geneva schools.