IPEI Celebrates 15 Years: By the Numbers
1 IPEI Roundtable
3 Grant Programs
7 Special Funds
8 Kids Discover the Trail! Sites
10 Years with the affiliate Fine Arts Booster Group!
13 Annual Adult Spelling Bees
1,000+ Grants Awarded
$1,000,000+ Funds Granted
IPEI: Fifteen & Forward (Click here to view videos about IPEI's history and the Fifteen & Forward event Oct. 5, 2011)
In 1995, a task force of community members committed to maintaining the excellence of Ithaca’s schools began meeting in response to a challenge set forth in the ICSD Strategic Plan of 1994. It called for a vehicle that could facilitate access to the community resources needed to ensure the success of all students in the district, and resulted in the birth of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI). IPEI was incorporated as a non-profit entity with 501(c)(3) status, and its all-volunteer board of directors met for the first time in 1996.
From the beginning, IPEI was and remains dedicated to creating avenues for community involvement in public education, enabling and rewarding excellence in teaching, and helping to develop exciting educational projects that cannot be funded through tax dollars alone. This was manifested first and foremost in IPEI’s Teacher Grants: a program that awards grants (now in amounts up to $1,500) to individual teachers to fund innovative projects that must include the involvement of a community partner. Over the years, IPEI added a number of other grant programs including Red & Gold Grants, which provide up to $500 to support projects developed by teachers, staff members, students, families, or community members; and Community Collaboration Grants awarded to non-profit community organizations wishing to initiate curricular-enhancing programs with the ICSD.
As of October 2011, IPEI had awarded more than 1,000 grants totaling over $1,000,000—an astonishing record of success and a testament not just to the dedication and commitment of the many volunteers who serve on its board, serve on its various committees, help to organize its annual Adult Spelling Bee fundraising event, and contribute in many ways both tangible and intangible. It is also a testament to the commitment of the entire Ithaca community to educational excellence, because every penny of the $1,000,000 came from the community.