The Warren Athletics Fund is teaming up with the Community Foundation of Warren County.
Teaming up to ensure the continuation of 19 boys and girls athletic programs at Warren Area High School and Beaty Warren Middle School.
"The Warren Athletics Fund was founded prior to the 2011-12 school year to help make up for the Warren County School District's shortfall in funding (for existing school athletic programs)," according to the Warren Athletics Fund's Facebook page. "With the Warren County School District's recent decision to cut additional funding from the Warren sports programs, the Warren Athletics Fund is seeking additional help from the community at large to guarantee all 19 Warren programs remain viable and competitive for the 2012-13 school year."
Times Observer photo by Jon Sitler
With Warren Area High School senior-athletes, standing, from left, Matt Sandberg and Ellis Beardsley, the Warren Athletic Fund is joining the Community Foundation of Warren County for fundraising for the 19 sports teams from Warren Area High School and Beaty Warren Middle School. From left, sitting, are Tim Sandberg, Warren Athletics Fund treasurer, Murray McComas, Community Foundation of Warren County board member, and Glenn Baldensperger, Warren Athletics Fund president.
When the school district slashed funding for athletics at the four county high schools from $1.1 million to $626,000 before last school year, Warren Area High School's and Beaty's sports budget was reduced by over 40 percent.
There was another reduction to Warren this year from last after it was argued there was an inequity of school funds to the four schools.
The amount of money needed to keep the sports programs alive is constantly changing and predicted to grow in future years.
This year's fundraising goal has been set at $60,000.
The intent of the Warren Athletics Fund is to solicit money for all 19 boys and girls athletic programs at Warren and Beaty together, rather than leaving each individual booster group to fight for themselves.
"With the need to provide supplemental funding for athletic budgets continuing in this, and future, years, the officers of the Warren Athletics Fund secured a grant from an anonymous donor to establish an ongoing fund within the Community Foundation of Warren County (CFWC)," said CFWC board member Murray McComas. "This relationship will enable the Warren Athletics Fund to broadly solicit support from parents, friends, boosters, businesses - or any interested party - to make tax-deductible contributions to the CFWC, designated for the use of the Warren Athletics Fund in providing the financial support for the men's and women's athletic teams in the Warren attendance area."
That is of the utmost importance to both McComas and Warren Athletics Fund president Glenn Baldensperger and treasurer Tim Sandberg.
"The Warren Athletics Fund strongly believes extracurricular activities are a vital part of our children's total educational experience," said Sandberg.
Separate booster groups, specifically the Warren Sports Boosters, will continue separate fundraising efforts, as well as banquets, awards and senior recognition. The Warren Sports Boosters operates War Memorial Field as well as male and female scholarships from Warren Area High School.
"The Warren Athletics Fund established within the Foundation would be dedicated to funding the annual athletic budget 'gap,' so that all sports would benefit equally - and not to provide special interest to any single sport or booster group," said Community Foundation Executive Director Dr. Charles Mackenzie.
"Should the fund have an excess beyond the budget gap, the balance would be carried over to the succeeding school year."
Mackenzie said "similar opportunities for establishing 'budget gap' funds for other attendance areas in the county could be accompanied by the Community Foundation."
As for the Warren Athletics Fund, fundraising efforts are in full swing - with the 4-0 Dragons varsity football team playing in its Homecoming game at 7 p.m. Friday at War Memorial Field. A benefit Homecoming Tailgate for a $10 donation - with food donated by Dean Wells' Hog Wild BBQ Co. - will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the YMCA parking lot. There will also be a public collection held during the game for the Warren Athletics Fund by the Warren Area High School cheerleaders.
The Warren Athletics Fund has set up a Facebook page with updates and information. Checks can be made payable to the Community Foundation of Warren
County, with the Warren Athletics Fund noted below on the check, and mailed to Community Foundation of Warren County, P.O. Box 691, Warren, Pa. 16365. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.