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Parkland School District creates alumni association

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - A Parkland Alumni Association is being created in Parkland School District.

The association will be modeled after those at colleges and universities, said Nicole McGalla, the school district's community and public relations director.

It will be an offshoot of the two-year-old Parkland School District Education Foundation.

Like any alumni association, it will give the district a way to seek donations from its graduates.

The new association was included in a presentation about the education foundation that McGalla made to Parkland School Board Tuesday night.

McGalla said Parkland alumni will pay dues to belong to the association and will receive a monthly on-line newsletter.

She said the district is developing a new Parkland alumni directory, which was done twice before, most recently in 2008. That project will start next week and take three to four months to complete.

The district also is in the process of hiring a part-time executive director for the foundation, who will manage the launch of the alumni association.

"It's a huge opportunity but somebody needs to manage it on a more regular basis," said McGalla. Applications are being accepted for the part-time position, which she said will pay $20,000 to $25,000 a year for 20-25 hours of work per week.

The fund-raising education foundation, which has a 16-member board of directors, was created to improve programs for the benefit of students and staff in the school district.

"We realize a lot of people still don't know who we are," said McGalla of the foundation. "We're still a young organization."

She said foundation members have gone to district plays and concerts to talk to people and raise awareness about the organization.

Funding for the foundation has come from contributions from Parkland staff and "local business and community-wide support for the school district." That included a fund-raising masquerade gala in May that generated $87,000.

McGalla told the school board the foundation received $212,000 in gifts this past fiscal year, which ended June 30, up from $130,000 it received its first year.

She said so far, $206,000 has been given back to the district.

Last month the foundation got a $10,000 anonymous gift, which will be used to purchase band instruments for Parkland's two middle schools, reported McGalla.

Another $2,500 anonymous donation is earmarked for the high school's musical.

She said the district's arts programs have received multiple gifts of $1,000 or larger from generous donors.

She noted anonymous donors can receive tax deductions.

McGalla explained the foundation awards grants for district programs. Last year it received applications for 70 grants and awarded 43. This year it got 123 applications and awarded 57, totaling $86,000.

In another new fundraising initiative for the school district, McGalla announced it will sell advertising space on signs that will line the end zones at football games in Parkland's football stadium.

Businesses can purchase a space for $2,000. All advertising revenue will benefit the district's athletic program.

In addition to that $2,000, advertisers are responsible for paying about $350 for the signs, which are made of an all-weather plastic material with a double-sided, A-frame design. The district will store the signs for no charge and set them up for each game.

The district estimates a total of 25,000 fans will see the signs at five home football games – more if the team goes into the play-offs.

McGalla said the signs may even receive TV coverage because some or all of Parkland football games are seen on WFMZ, RCN and Service Electric.

For another $1,000, the same signs will be used at basketball games and, for an additional $500, at soccer games. But soccer has one ad sign space left and basketball has only a few spaces left for the upcoming season, according to McGalla.

She said the advertising signs at football games will generate $24,000 for the district, while those at basketball games will generate $6,000 and those at soccer games will generate $2,000.

Parkland isn't the only entity looking to generate revenue from advertising signs on an athletic field.

On Monday night, Emmaus borough council unanimously approved requests by the Emmaus Youth Association and Emmaus Football Association to erect advertising signs on fences, backstop area and backfield building at the rehabilitated ball field in Emmaus Community Park.

Those signs will be three-foot vinyl with grommets and will be taken down at the end of each season.

The borough will not derive any revenue from those signs, according to borough council member Wesley Barrett.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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