"Enhancing Education Opportunities for Plattsmouth Students"
Once known as the POPS Foundation, the Plattsmouth Education Foundation is designed to support and enhance the education experience of the students in the Plattsmouth School System. We enjoy the tax status of a 501c3 non-profit organization. This classification gives us the ability to connect people and organizations with funds to give, to the projects and students who will benefit from such funds.
The Foundation was organized by the Plattsmouth Board of Education in 1988; members of the board were the directors of the Foundation. The focus during those beginning years was securing endowments for student scholarship. The first Robert T. and Dorothy Walling Wiley Memorial Scholarships of $2000 each were given to the Plattsmouth High School graduates of 1992. The foundation also acquired the Fred V. Duda Memorial Scholarship, of $5000 for the 1993 graduating class. As of 2016 the Wiley Scholarship has awarded $1,066,100 to 519 graduates and the Duda Family has awarded $325,000 to 65 graduates. Thanks to the hard work of those first board members these scholarship funds will continue to benefit our PHS graduates.
The dual role of school board member and foundation board member proved difficult in the early 90’s. The school board became focused on building new school facilities for our students and the foundation became dormant. Six months after the new elementary school was opened, three school board members turned their focus to developing a before and after school child care program. The goal was to relieve the “latch key kids” problem in Plattsmouth with a safe place for children. The issue of state funding to schools in the future was also a factor in creating a program that could possibly bring in funds to supplement school programs. In August of 1997 POPS Place a before and after school child care program was opened. This state licensed childcare center became a fun place for school age children (kindergarten to 6th grade) to go, that was safe, convenient, and affordable.
Eventually the POPS Place program and private donations made it possible for the Foundation to award mini grants to our teachers. Through competitive grant writing proposals, $500.00 awards were given. Under the umbrella of the Foundation and its financial help, a rebirth of the Plattsmouth Alumni Association took place in 1999. A handful of PHS alums and Jon Lopez, high school principal, took on the task of finding and recording names and addresses of Plattsmouth graduates dating back to 1925. In May of 2000, an All School Reunion Celebration brought 200 alumni and guests together to celebrate and start the new millennium with the promise to come together every year to continue the celebration. Since 2001, the Alumni Association along with honor classes and individuals have awarded over $30,000 in scholarships to graduates of PHS.
In May 2004 the first STARS Banquet was held to celebrate academic excellence by honoring the top 10% of the graduating class and the teachers who made a significant impact on their lives. The POPS Foundation continues to grow in scope as a tool for connecting donors to deserving students, programs, and projects. It has been a vehicle for donations in the building of the fitness center and PACK Project both located on the high school campus, memorial gifts that have planted trees and taught CPR classes. The Foundation now enjoys the governance of a foundation board of directors separate from the board of education. Programs supported by the foundation can be as numerous and varied as the mind can imagine.