By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Northborough – There is a saying that goes something like this, “if one wants to get something done, look to a busy person for that person knows how, and will get the job done.” Such is the case with the revitalization of the Northborough Education Foundation (NEF), a nonprofit organization whose main goal is to fund teacher grants.
Like many organizations, the NEF has had its ups and downs. When the NEF hit a slump, they needed someone to give it a boost, and Marile Borden, a busy mother of fifth-grade son and second-grade daughter, was just the right person.
Borden, who has lived in Northborough for 10 years, is a volunteer at the Marguerite E. Peaslee Elementary School and serves on its Parent-Teacher Organization. She is a soccer coach, a board member of the Ski Ward Race Team, and a Frontier Girl leader. She also is the author of the blog, “Moms Who Need Wine,” while running a small ad agency, Metal Creative Services.
The NEF was once a part of the Northborough/Southborough Education Foundation, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization known for its Casino Night Fundraiser. However, like many organizations, volunteers became scarce and the organization dissolved. It was several years ago that a few people brought back the Northborough portion of the organization with a springtime Quiz Night and that was the extent of things until a few more people came on board. Borden was one of those people, and over the course of a few years, she added another fundraising event – a mother/daughter Princess Tea held near Mother’s Day. The Quiz Night and Princess Tea were NEF’s two flagship events and were the sole sources of income.
Last spring, the NEF’s president, a business owner with many other commitments, stepped down. Borden stepped up to assume leadership and made it her mission to brainstorm ways to breathe new life into the NEF. She started by bringing in new people and energy. She talked to everybody she knew and recruited more than 20 people to fill board and committee positions, so many that new positions were created. They added a teacher representative to its board who serves as a liaison between the group and the teaching community to nurture and facilitate communication between the faculty, staff and the NEF. At present, the NEF is fully staffed but will always accept new volunteers.
A specific program that the NEF is currently revamping is its teacher appreciation event, renaming it “The Golden Apple Award.” They see this as a huge revenue generator and are in the enviable position to dedicate one volunteer to coordinate this event. The award is modeled after several other education foundations’ teacher appreciation programs. The Golden Apple Award plaques carry customized inscriptions of appreciation which are purchased by families and awarded to faculty or staff – one for $15 or five for $50. Proceeds then go to the NEF to fund their work. Metrowest Oral Surgical Associates has generously signed on as its matching sponsor.
Currently, the NEF awards 10 to 12 grants totaling approximately $10-12,000 annually. The board hopes to double this during the 2015 cycle.
The NEF Golden Apple Teacher Appreciation fundraiser is now in progress. Families are encouraged to consider a “Golden Apple” for their teachers and to mark their calendars for the annual Trivia Night Friday, March 27. For updated information and upcoming events, visit www.northboroughed.org. Tax-deductible donations are welcome and may be sent to NEF at PO Box 1094, Northborough, MA 01532.