How does Spring Board decide where to invest our time, energy, and resources to break the barriers to college entry for students in the Roaring Fork Valley? This past month the philanthropy committee explored several options to complement our financial aid to students at Basalt High School.
In the past, the Spring Board College Fund has been used for fees associated with applying to college, such as application fees, placement test fees, financial aid applications, and ACT/SAT prep classes. Liz Penzel, the college and career counselor at Basalt High School (BHS), has been Spring Board’s partner in identifying hidden college application costs not covered by financial aid. For instance, in 2015 two students used the Spring Board fund to pay to re-take their ACT tests after they did not score within the college ready range. The second time around both students scored higher and within the college prepared range.
In November 2016, Spring Board met with Andy Davies, Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Director. The Cradle to Career Initiative serves students from kindergarten through college graduation to ensure that the youth of the Roaring Fork Valley are prepared for college and careers. Andy identified five areas of need in the valley: funding pre-collegiate programs, early childhood tuition assistance, youth career exposure, RE-1 high school capstone projects, and further direct financial assistance through college counselors at other schools in the valley.
Our consideration for vetting options for our philanthropic giving in 2016-2017 centered on our mission of using the Spring Board fund to cover the fees associated with applying for college and consideration of accountability. Together, the board discussed what success will look like to us in the short-term and long-term, and how much money we wish to give this year. To close 2016, the board decided to give additional funding to Basalt High School to help fund a college visit trip on the front range and to continue to assist in covering the cost of testing and college applications. In 2017 the board looks more deeply at giving funding to other needs in the valley.
~ Megan Bentzin – Vice Chair of SpringBoard