New director at ISD 88 Foundation

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey

The ISD 88 Foundation’s new Executive Director Kim RockVam sits in her desk at the Washington Learning Center which lent the foundation the computer, space and phone line RockVam uses for her job.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey The ISD 88 Foundation’s new Executive Director Kim RockVam sits in her desk at the Washington Learning Center which lent the foundation the computer, space and phone line RockVam uses for her job.

NEW ULM — A new executive director was brought onboard of the ISD 88 Foundation at the beginning of October.

Kim RockVam officially began Oct. 2. She has years of experience in non-profit work as well as graphic design.

“I was excited and then nervous, but I do not need to be nervous because I have a very strong, hard-working board to work with,” RockVam said.

RockVam plans to focus on fundraising in the foreseeable future. The foundation is aiming to get its endowment to $1 million by 2021.

“I wanted to make sure that I was making a difference in my community,” RockVam said. “That is very important to me.”

RockVam has spent a lot of time volunteering and working for various non-profits. She started off volunteering some of her time to businesses when she was not in her gift shop Hodgepodge downtown.

“I go to a lot of different events and still work within the non-profit world,” RockVam said. “I do some graphic design for some other organizations. I just donate some time to them.”

She has worked for the United Way of the Brown County Area for six years as a director of finance and administration.

RockVam took a year off from non-profit work, but couldn’t stay away.

“I really missed working in the non-profit world,” RockVam said. “I missed that value of being part of your community and helping others in any way that I can.”

She spent two years as an administrative consultant at the Oak Hills Memorial Foundation starting in 2015.

The ISD 88 Foundation aims to help fund the public school district through grants to programs and projects that probably would not be covered by tax dollars.

Since 2015 the foundation has donated $48,250 in grants to the district. They helped pay for solar panels on the high school greenhouse, the Outdoor Learning Environment at the Washington Learning Center and more.

“We want the community to understand why it is important for our students in public schools to have a competitive education, to be able to have these programs that tax dollars will not typically pay for,” RockVam said.

The foundation is about 30 percent of the way toward its long-term goal of a $1 million endowment.

When the endowment is that large, the foundation will be able to fund grants with just the interest, making it easier for it to grow, RockVam said.

The foundation formed in response to a failed 2011 referendum that would have increased the district’s general revenue by $725 per pupil.

By February 2014, the non-profit’s 501(c)(3) proposal was accepted. In the spring of 2015, the foundation hosted its first Eagles Extravaganza, attracting 350 attendees and raising over $30,000.

Now the foundation is approaching its fourth Extravaganza in April 2018.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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