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Autumn 2020

Issue # 3


To Our Core, We Support the Needs of Millard

(ABOVE) Reagan Kids Network, (RIGHT) Ackerman Kids Network

Childcare Heroes By: Renae VerMaas

Over the summer, Kids Network offered a full-day summer program and eventually transitioned into our traditional before and after school program the first day of school. This was possible because our staff are amazing and continue to adapt to the ever-changing requirements we face. We cannot thank our staff enough for being childcare heroes. They are the reason we were able to re-open our doors and can continue to keep them open. We continue to offer extensive training on Covid-19 safety protocols and procedures, so our families have a safe place to take their child.

with their friends socializing, playing, and learning despite the difference in how they do so. We are so grateful for our wonderful staff, children, and families and their continued support.

It is with heartfelt gratitude to our donors and the wonderful partnership with the Millard Education Association (MEA) that we announce a new fund: Collection of Resources for Educators (CORE). This fund was established to assist with unforeseen personal circumstances outside of the classroom and/or building. Emergency funds are available to assist employees of the Millard Public Schools (both certificate and non-certificate). MEA has agreed to partner as a private referral service for MPS employees to request assistance regardless of MEA membership status and/or affiliation. For more information or to request funding, contact MEA at (402) 731-0400 or visit If you would like to contribute to the CORE fund visit: mpsfoundation/donate.

We are also amazed everyday how resilient the students have been. It is apparent that the children are happy to be back in school and in Kids Network

Excellence is Worth the Investment

Letter from the Executive Director 5225 South 159th Avenue Omaha, NE 68135 (402) 991-6710

BOARD OF DIRECTORS The Millard Public Schools Foundation board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and those we serve. The members work hard to ensure longterm sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds raised directly affect those in need. Brian Cassata President Brenda Christensen President-Elect Erin Hoffman Treasurer Jessica Covi Secretary Carlos Castillo Executive Director Dr. Tim Burd Michael Croker Jenny Gilmore Knut Haasch Erin Hoffman Ross Jernstrom Rebecca Kleeman Jeff Kutash Troy Malone Mike Pate Tim Royers Dulce Sherman Dr. Jim Sutfin

It is hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner and the first half of this untraditional school year is upon us. There is no doubt that these uncertain times have posed significant challenges to our community. Like most other organizations, we have not been immune from the impact of the Coronavirus. Through it all, we have worked hard to stay focused on our core mission – to support our outstanding school district and the community we serve. Even though I’m new to the Executive Director role here at the Foundation, it didn’t take me long to witness first-hand the generous spirit of this place we call home – Millard. Nothing made me more proud, when I saw Millard students and faculty come together to help at a community food pantry, or when a generous group of donors wanted to say thank you to our teachers by providing the foundation with 1000+ “I love my teacher” signs. Like many of you, it is why my wife and I chose to raise our three kids in this community. It is a place where people come together during difficult times to help one another. If I’ve learned anything from my few short weeks on the job, I know that nothing can stand between students, families, teachers, and a district working together. We are proud to partner with each to make our community a better place. Please, never hesitate to reach out to let us know how we can help. I look forward to the opportunity to meet as many of you as possible in the future. In closing, I want to offer a special thank you to our generous donors. Because of your kindness and generosity, we are able to touch the lives of thousands of students each year. Your commitment to our cause means more than you will know.

Carlos Castillo Executive Director, Millard Public Schools Foundation


Mark Beller Marilyn Chollett Tiffany Johnson Sarah Lahman Brannan Lampe Wendy Meisgeier Julie Miller Sarah Rider Renae VerMaas Erika Wilson

MISSION The Millard Public Schools Foundation partners with the Millard Public Schools to support students, families, and the community by guaranteeing sustainable resources and offering high-quality programs.


Spreading the Love The Millard Public Schools are a vital part of our community. We know how hard the entire school district is working to provide a safe and educational experience for every student whether they are in the classroom or learning concurrently. A group of generous parents came forward to provide seed money to kick

off the visual campaign throughout our community. It did not take long for the yard signs to spread throughout our neighborhoods. Thank you to everyone that participated by sharing their pictures on social media and for donating to the campaign so we could continue to “spread the love”. We are proud of our school district and community! “It is wonderful to see the signs around the Millard community! As I pass them on my way to school each morning, I am reminded that I am surrounded by an outstanding community of educators who are going the extra mile for their students each day, even during these unprecedented times. We are thankful for the support that our community is giving our teachers, and for all of the hard work that is being recognized!” Anna, MPS Teacher

Thank You!

1,500 SIGNS

Spread Throughout Our Community

Bryan Elementary is looking Wonder-ful these days By: Sarah Rider

Panel Sketch by local artist, Watie White

In January 2021, every student who walks through the doors of Bryan Elementary will have their very own standing ovation brought to you by the MPS Community Arts Project campaign. Along with this large mural near the main office, there will also be four panels hung down the main hallway of the building. This was made possible by private donors and gifts made during the Foundation’s 2019 OmahaGives! campaign. A special thanks to the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. This would not be possible without your support!

Panel Sketch by local artist, Watie White

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives”. – Auggie Pullman, Wonder


Outside the Classroom In late September, 7 different Millard families with 17 students from 3 MPS Schools, found themselves evacuated in the early hours of the morning to their cars and on streetside curbs from a devastating fire at TimberCreek Apartments. Funds donated to Millard Families in Crisis were able to support the displaced families with gift cards to purchase immediate basic needs.

Golfing for the Greatest Need June 10th marked the date of our 30th annual golf tournament and while it looked a little different this year, one thing remained the same ‌ the commitment to the Foundation’s mission. We would like to thank the golf committee, sponsors, participants, and volunteers that came out and spent

the day outside playing golf while supporting the work of the Foundation. This year the golf tournament proceeds helped support the greatest needs of our mission. Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible and helping us raise $71,925! Save the date: Thursday, June 10, 2021

Inside the Classroom Annually, the Foundation awards $435,000 for School Improvement Plans in all 35 Millard Schools. These funds can offer a variety of additional opportunities to students each semester such as STEAM, art, or nutrition clubs. And schools can use their funds to focus on giving students a boost in their academics from study centers to reading support. Or, what about a Kindness Retreat experience? Those funds do that, too.


Beyond the Classroom GOLD SPONSORS:

The Foundation connects Millard graduating seniors with over $150,000 in scholarship funding to BOTH those who are career or college-ready. With over 100 scholarships available, we are committed to lessening the financial burden to our newest Millard alumni. Meet Carly Priest, a 2020 graduate from Millard North and daughter of a MPS educator. We are proud to support Carly on her journey to be a nurse!

CORPORATE SPONSORS: Aetna, Ameritas, Athletes Training Center, BCDM, Cox Communications, Harry A. Koch, Home Depot, Lamp Rynearson, Lutz and Company, Merrill Lynch, Millard Wellness, National Insurance Services, Peer Sales Agency, Prime Communications, Sampson Construction, Sterling Computers & Vintage Financial

Please support our mission by making a donation today .html



Harrison Phillips Playmaker Scholarship

Last year Millard West alumnus, Harrison Phillips became the Harrison Phillips Foundation’s youngest scholarship Millard West, Class of 2014 provider by establishing a scholarNFL Defensive Tackle for the Buffalo Bills ship the same year he would have celebrated his 5 year high school reunion. Harrison’s passion for helping others and his commitment to his Millard roots are remarkable. Harrison awarded two $1,000 scholarships to a male and female Millard West athlete, focused on leadership and volunteerism. You can check out more about Harrison Phillips and his decision to start a scholarship by listening to our “Building the Foundation” podcast. (Season 1, Episode 9)

We have finished our first season of the podcast! Check out our podcast and get caught up now that the new season launched in August! Our goal is to interact with our community, alumni and school district in a unique way. We want to engage and start conversations that matter. Subscribe today!

“I know how important and helpful these dollars are for kids. Sometimes that is the determining factor on if someone can attend college or not.”

– Harrison Phillips

Save the Date: DECEMBER 1ST Do you have a senior currently enrolled at one of the Millard high schools? If so, tell your student to mark their calendar and visit to apply.

3 Things

Your Student ICIAL will Need RES UNOFFCRIPT UME S N TRA before STUDENT Starting the AID REPORT Scholarship (SAR) Application

FOLLOW YOUR FOUNDATION The Millard Public Schools Foundation works year-round raising funds to support our exceptional school district AND providing news and information about Millard schools, staff, students, and alumni. Please sign up for our e-Newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Send email to: @MillardPublicSchoolsFoundation

@MPS_Foundation 5225 South 159th Avenue | Omaha, NE 68135 (402) 991-6710 Deadline to apply is February 1, 2021

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