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The GF Nation Fund

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The GF Nation Fund is a  501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the development of the students of the Glens Falls School District through financial support of its K-12 extracurricular programs (music, arts, sports, and clubs).

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First round of grants awarded as GF Nation Fund supports students district-wide

Four efforts supported in the Spring 2015 grant cycle

June 19, 2015—Glens Falls students will benefit from Lego Robotics kits, digital cameras, a public address system for dances, and even some stress-reduction yoga stretching, thanks to support from the GF Nation Fund, a new 501(c)(3) group dedicated to supporting the extracurricular experience.

“We were pleased with the diversity of requests, and this is a terrific start for our non-profit,” says Frances Parent, one of the GF Nation Fund leaders. In the May 2015 granting cycle, the following awards were made:

  • $250 to Big Cross Elementary reading teacher Jennifer Chapman, to incorporate professionally-led yoga stretch sessions into the school day for all students. “The idea is to promote more positive mindsets, and give our students some healthy tools they can use to deal with stress,” says Ms. Chapman.
  • $750 to High School physical education teacher Steve Zurlo, to go towards the purchase of a public address system. Student groups will no longer need to rent equipment for dances and other events.
  • Three Lego Mindstorm Kits—one robotics set for each elementary school in the district. The kits blend traditional Lego building blocks with tech-enhanced pieces that students use to build one of several robots that walk, talk, think and “do anything you can imagine” through a programming interface.
  • Three Canon Rebel digital SLR cameras to High School art teacher Sue Botch, to be used by art students for visual research on field trips.

GF Nation Fund treasurer Mark Bulmer outlined the organization's efforts during the Board of Education meeting on June 9, at which time the district officially accepted the donations. "Our community has made enough donations for us to be able to award four projects today," Mr. Bulmer said. "We hope to build awareness of the group, so that we can raise even more funds in the future."

In his description of the group's start-up efforts, Mr. Bulmer noted that "for every hour any one of us board members puts in, Frances Parent puts in 10 to 15."

The idea of the non-profit, which is less than a year old, began about five years ago, when a few parents started working with alumni and community members to restore some athletic programs that were cut from the school budget because of fiscal constraints.

“I was absolutely shocked how many people came forward wanting to help,” recalls Mrs. Parent. “It was very evident at that point that we needed to set up a fund that would allow us to help preserve some of these programs in times of financial need, and in better fiscal years, allow us to help the school build and enhance programs that the school budget wouldn’t typically fund.”

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Board members of the GF Nation Fund: Frances Parent, Pres., Amy Collins, VP, Mark Bulmer, Treasurer, Tia Vanderminden, Secretary, Mike Borgos, and Terri Surprenant

Through community-based fundraising, the group now helps pay for educational supports that are outside of the normal school budget. Board members include Amy Collins, with the City of Glens Falls Tourism, Mark Bulmer, with Glens Falls National Bank, Mike Borgos, Esq., with Borgos & Del Signore, Tia Vanderminden, a GF Community Leader, Terri Surprenant, also a GF Community Leader, and Frances Parent, with Greenleaf Financial.

"We really appreciate all the work these individuals are doing to lead our community in supporting our students," says Superintendent Paul Jenkins. "These grants are helping our faculty innovate and provide a well-rounded experience for our students. We're very grateful to the GF Nation Fund and all who have donated to make this possible."

“There is a growing trend to set up funds like ours to help and partner with our public schools,” says Mrs. Parent. “We are also trying to build an alumni network, kind of an outreach, a go-to group. Not just to solicit donations, but to build a consolidated list of all GF Alumni. This could be useful for upcoming class reunions. We are encouraging alumni to sign in at our website.” (The group website is:

The next granting cycle for teachers to submit requests is November of 2015.