Moore help for Fayetteville schools and students

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 296 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — At a time when teachers have had to pitch in a little more of their own funds to cover costs of running a classroom or program, supporters of the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation Inc. have stepped up to help.

An event Monday night (April 30) at the Arkansas Air Museum at Drake Field was held to award teachers and administrators with more than $168,000 worth of much-needed grants — mostly for out-of-the-ordinary projects the school districts couldn’t afford in its budgets.

Another $14,000 in students scholarships and stipends ranging from $750 to $5,000 were awarded to Carolin Lehmann, Savannah Franklin, Savannah Amaral, Makenzie Bramwell, Carlin Purcell, Sarah Burrell, John Cale and Zoe Rom.

The foundation also lauded two A.P.P.L.E. (A Patron Providing Leadership by Example) award winners: Liberty Bank of Arkansas, headed by CEO Howard Hamilton, and Alan Wilbourn, the district’s public longtime information officer.

But perhaps saving the best for last, Fayetteville District Judge Rudy Moore and his wife, Root Elementary School principal Rhonda Moore, announced a substantial donation in memory of Rudy’s son, Matthew, that would allow the new high school’s library to be named the Matthew William Moore Library.

Matthew Moore, a well-rounded athlete and successful writer and student at FHS, was killed in a car wreck more than 20 years ago, after visiting his brother, Jason, on spring break trip to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

“Although he didn’t know it at the time of his death, he had been admitted to Duke University, his first college choice, and to all the other universities to which he applied,” Rudy Moore said, fighting hard against his tears.

The Moore family’s previous donations had gone toward a scholarship fund named for Matthew and funneled through the foundation. The elder Moore said the family was extending its long-standing partnership “in order to continue to remember Matthew in a way that will benefit many thousands of students who will pass through the halls of FHS.” The foundation and the family will now be transferring the assets of the Matthew Moore Scholarship Fund, some $175,000, to the school district, as a gift.

Further, the family will give $25,000 to the foundation to establish a memorial fund, which will award grants to district teachers on an annual basis.

Guests were welcomed to the steamy hangar by the foundation’s executive director, Holly Johnson, and Greg Lee, president of the foundation’s board. They ate an Italian dinner provided by Noodles Italian Kitchen and Denise and Dr. Hershey Garner.

Then those running the show started throwing out numbers — a $2.7 million endowment to start with.

In addition to grants funded through the foundation's endowment, businesses and individuals may also contribute to unique projects. For instance, a roof greenhouse at the new FHS is made possible through a $20,000 gift from the Oak Education Foundation in association with the 66 Federal Credit Union. And librarian Sarah Robertson received $19,500 from Neal and Gina Pendergraft for eBooks  to help with literacy.

Grants asking for help with programs promoting engineering, technology and agriculture seemed to be the most popular. Not all grants were in the five figure range — in fact, most of them were not — but every one of them aimed at piquing the interest of students in a way classroom work had not.