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Mission & History

Who We Are

Our Mission

To advocate, promote and fund initiatives to enrich learning experiences for students and staff of the SBCSC.

Our Funding

We work to bridge the gap between need and funding in two ways: through grants for innovative Teacher Grants and by funding educational programs and projects in South Bend public schools.

Our Community

With your support we strive to increase student readiness, support for character education, reading and math programs, professional development for teachers, match students with mentors, and expand our outreach to parents and the community.

Our History

History of The Public Education Foundation, Inc. The Foundation was an outgrowth of the Strategic Planning Group which was an effort that Dr. Virginia Calvin, former superintendent of SBCSC, started to involve the community to take a look at the funding of schools and to gain community involvement.

Local visionary citizens like Dr. James Wilson, Mendel Piser, and Margaret King formed the Public Education Foundation, Inc. in 1995 out of their unwavering passion and commitment to help make certain that children have every opportunity to learn. What they learned during the public session about school funding was that the state will never be able to fully fund schools.

The 29 member board of directors is comprised of a diverse group of community and business members which includes several ex-officio positions, one for the superintendent, one South Bend school board liaison, and a student liaison.

Margaret King was the first volunteer director and then in 1999, Karen Schirmer was hired as the first paid director. Susan Warner was hired as interim-director when Karen had surgery in 2003 and was hired as director when Karen passed away.

The foundation, a 501(c)3 is independent of, yet a partner with, the South Bend Community School Corporation. In 1998 the foundation name was changed from the SBCSC Education Foundation to The Public Education Foundation, Inc.