Community foundation grants $87K to schools


When the Dubois County Community Foundation thought about how to distribute funds for coronavirus relief from the Lilly Endowment, the county’s public schools seemed like a good place to start.

“One of the easiest and best ways we can help our entire county is to help our schools,” said Clayton Boyles, executive director of the community foundation.

The foundation received $250,000 from the Lilly Endowment to grant to local organizations in response to the coronavirus, and $87,000 of those funds will be split between the county’s four school corporations — Greater Jasper, Northeast Dubois, Southeast Dubois and Southwest Dubois. The schools each plan to use the funds to purchase temperature scanners that can be used when in-person classes resume, Boyles said.

The temperature scanners are free-standing. The idea is that students, staff and visitors will stand in front of the scanners when they enter the building and have their temperatures taken. The details of how the schools will use the scanners and what the protocols will be when someone’s temperature is too high are still under discussion by the countywide School Re-Entry Taskforce, which consists of representatives from each of the county’s four school corporations and is currently working on a re-entry plan for classes this fall. The plan should be approved by each school board and released to the public later this month.

The Southeast Dubois School Board was the first of the four school boards to officially accept the grant funds when its members met Wednesday night. At the meeting, Southeast Dubois Superintendent Jamie Pund reported that the corporation received $15,000 from the grant to purchase five temperature scanners. Pund said using the scanners is part of the re-entry plan but that the details of how the scanners will be implemented are still being worked out.

“As we get further into the school year, we plan to use these,” Pund told the board.

Each school corporation will be awarded a different amount based on how many temperature scanners administrators requested, Boyles said. Should the grant funds exceed the cost of the scanners, each school will be able to use leftover funds to cover other COVID-19-related costs.

The grants to the schools cover several priorities that the community foundation’s grant committee considers when deciding how to award grant dollars, including kids, health and safety, and education. Helping get the county’s children back to school also came up as a priority, Boyles said. The committee also considered the positive effects reopening the schools will have throughout the community. With students back in school, parents will be able to return to work without having to worry about childcare and the county’s day cares will be less crowded.

“We think that is an important piece of getting back to life as normally as possible,” Boyles said.

The community foundation is still determining how the rest of the $250,000 from the Lilly Endowment will be granted, but Boyles said the grant committee is talking to Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, Tri-Cap and a few smaller organizations about their needs and how grants could be used.