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Maries County R-2 Schools Foundation accepting donations to replace spring scholarship fundraiser

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge

BELLE— The Maries County R-II Schools Foundation will soon be awarding over $35,000 in scholarships through various funds to Belle High School seniors, graduating in 2021.

Under normal condition, the school foundation committee would also be coordinating its annual fundraiser, the dinner and live auction event that benefits the Maries County R-2 School Foundation Community Scholarship fund. Due to COVID, the fundraiser will not be held this spring, which would have been the seventh annual fundraiser.

The goal for the Community Scholarship fund is to be able to award a scholarship to every college-bound Belle High School graduating senior in 2025 and beyond. 2025 is fast approaching. As of February, the Community Scholarship fund is valued at $115,000. To meet the goal of a scholarship for every college-bound senior in 2025, an estimated $600,000 is needed. The foundation committee will award $3,500 in scholarships from this fund in May.

To continue the fundraising effort and not miss a year, Maries County R-2 School Foundation committee is asking community members who usually donate to and/or attend the annual fundraising event to make a donation in amount similar to what they would have spent at the in-person fundraiser.

“It takes about three months of planning to carry-out this effort, and in November and December, with local COVID cases so high, we decided to cancel the spring event, said Jan Sassmann, president of the school foundation. “At the same time, we do not want to lose our momentum. Our annual fundraiser usually raises between $13,000 to $15,000 annually, and those funds are crucial to meeting our goal. This will keep the momentum going and allow us to build and grow the fund.”

There are a couple of ways you can donate:

  • Write a check, payable to Maries County R-2 Schools Foundation Community Scholarship, and drop it off to Vicki Nelson or Tasha Busch at Mid-America Bank in Belle;
  • Write a check, payable to Maries County R-2 Schools Foundation Community Scholarship, and mail it to Bonnie Prigge, MRPC, 4 Industrial Drive, St. James, MO;
  • Donate securely online at Community Foundation of the Ozarks:
  • Visit cfozarks.org.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the home page, find the “Donate Now” button and click it. 
  • On the donation page, select the amount you wish to donate. 
  • On the gift donation, choose “other.”
  • When the “Other Gift Designation” box pops up, type “Maries County R-2 School Foundation Community Scholarship fund.”
  • You can pay by credit card or bank account.

Donations are tax-deductible, and you will receive documentation for tax purposes. Donation request letters have been mailed to past donors, Sassmann said.

If a company or a family wishes to make a larger donation, there is the opportunity to establish a separate scholarship fund. A $15,000 investment creates an endowed scholarship that will generate a $600 scholarship each year. A $25,000 investment generates a $1,000 scholarship annually.

“Our Community Scholarship fundraisers are so much fun, and we look forward to the next one,” said Sassmann. “This event always reminds us how blessed we are to live in such a generous and supportive community and school district. We hope that we can continue the momentum, without the live event.”

If you have questions, please feel contact Jan Sassman at 573-368-1827; Steve Vogt, community scholarship champion, at 573-680-9968; or Bonnie Prigge at MRPC at 573-201-1820.

The Maries County R-II Schools Foundation is part of the Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF), and its scholarship fund is managed by Community Foundation of the Ozarks, of which MRCF is an affiliate. With an endowed scholarship, a portion of the interest earned on those funds provides scholarships for graduating seniors with the principal remaining intact.

Belle High School Counselor Chris Feeler coordinates local scholarship applications. Additional scholarship opportunities are available online at cfozarks.org.

In April, the foundation committee will be reviewing scholarship applications and selecting recipients for the class of 2021. The group already knows there will be more requests than there are scholarships, all the more reason for the annual fundraiser.

The Maries County R-II Schools Foundation is responsible for selecting the recipients of the Maries R-2 School Foundation Community Scholarship, Kaeding-Winter Scholarship, Belle Lions Club Scholarship in memory of David R. Sassmann, the Mae, Grace and George Bacon Scholarship, two Ruth and Gene Ridenhour MD Scholarships, Carolyn Holt Educational Fund, Alan D. and Yvonne L. Skouby Scholarship, the Maries R-2 PTO Scholarship, the Party/Butler Scholarship, the Ted and Edna Leffler Scholarship, and the Schierloh Family Fund Scholarship. These are all scholarships established by families and organizations exclusively for Maries County R-II graduating seniors. Those endowed scholarship funds are valued at roughly $1.78 million.

Mailing Address:  Maries County R-II Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 819, Belle, MO 65013