By Jelani Gibson

For the Prosper Press

The Prosper Chamber of Commerce and the Prosper Education Foundation laid out their 2020 goals and objectives for collaboration during a Feb. 11 chamber meeting.

The foundation, which focuses on supporting the Prosper ISD through philanthropic initiatives, provides scholarships and grants to teachers, counselors and librarians, according to its website.

Prosper Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve Grzywacz said for the chamber to collaborate with the Prosper Education Foundation on educational initiatives, it can expose students to different professions.

“We are trying to build that relationship so that students get exposure to business and all types of business - not just doctors, lawyers and that, but to all ranges of business from plumbers, electricians … everything in between,” he said.

Prosper Education Foundation director Elizabeth Johnston laid out the organization’s initiatives at the meeting.

“I’m most excited about the opportunity to impact the students across the ISD in whatever way is needed,” she said. “We have a growing, generous community that supports our district in many ways, and I’m looking forward to helping engage and helping our district to be the best in the state of Texas.”

The organization has increased its personnel in response to the school district’s growth, Johnston said.

“We have expanded our staff, we have expanded our board and we are increasing our plans to raise funds,” she said. “The need will increase as our size increases, so we have a fairly large task ahead of us to continue to increase the investment funds that we have.”

The most effective way to secure more funding is by telling donors about the multiple ways the foundation helps PISD students, Johnston said.

“We’re looking to build great relationships with generous community members and tell people about the impact that we can have and the importance that the Prosper Education Foundation has in making the ISD as great as it can be,” she said. “Telling people what we’re all about, we’re looking to engage new donors [and] new supporters.”

Those new donors’ funds will address not only the increased population of students, but also an increased number who need scholarships, Johnston said.

“In order to continue to serve the district as we have, we’re going to need to increase our funds for scholarships and help students navigate,” she said. “We have a need for scholarships. College tuition is very expensive, student debt is high, so the more impact we can have for the senior class in helping them get their start, the better.”

Harlan Jefferson, Prosper town manager, said he was impressed by the amount of support the foundation gives to educators within the school district.

“I was really pleased to hear how much they contribute to the teachers, students and scholarships,” he said.

The school district plays a large economic role within the Prosper, Jefferson said.

“The economic engine of the Town of Prosper is the school district, and they (the education foundation) are a vital part of the school district’s success,” he said.