Generosity fueling student opportunities in State College schools


SCASD Education Foundation was established in 2015 as a separate charitable organization for private fundraising for student experiences and learning opportunities beyond the district’s budget. The foundation has created a partnership between donors from the community and its alumni base and the district to keep dollars in the community and benefit current K-12 students across the district’s 14 schools every year. 

One of the best examples of this partnership is the creation of the Mental Health Matters Fund. In 2019, SCASD administrators shared compelling data with the Education Foundation, illustrating how efforts already implemented by the district were improving student well-being and outlining what more could be done to make an even bigger impact. As a result, the Education Foundation pioneered the Mental Health Matters Fund with an initial $50,000 investment using proceeds from its Maroon & Gray Society Celebration. The fund has thrived, continuing to evolve and fuel an innovative support system for students and families by funding mental health and well-being initiatives. The fund was the beneficiary of the 2024 Maroon & Gray Society Celebration in April.  

The foundation’s flagship fund is the Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund & Grant program which provides financial resources for grant awards to educators and staff seeking to fulfill a need or launch an innovative project. The latest grant funding supported science lab equipment, a vinyl printer cutter, field trip funding, supplies for culinary arts, flexible seating and sensory room supplies, art projects, testing survival kits for high schoolers, a Spanish reading library and more. Past grants have helped students participate in schoolwide art projects, Science Olympiad competitions, and pollinator garden planting, and allowed educators to set up “care closets” that offer essential personal care items and seasonal clothing for students.   

The Campaign for Memorial Field, spearheaded by the foundation, helped to renovate the district’s iconic location. The project was led by a $1 million from Class of ’62 alumnus Larry Beans. 

The organization hosts an annual Maroon & Gray Society Celebration to honor alumni, retired educators and members of the school community who made an impact on the district and beyond. The latest issue of FOUNDATION Magazine includes profiles of this year’s honorees and includes updates on key funds. Read it here. 



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