Dexter Educational Foundation Distributes Over $34,000 in Grants

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

Since 1985, the Educational Foundation of Dexter (EFD) has provided financial support for educational programs not included in the district budget.

Donations are collected and funds are distributed twice a year in the form of grants. The concept is simple enough, but it takes a lot of work from a dedicated group of volunteers committed to enriching education in Dexter’s schools.

“The Dexter Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization led by community members to provide financial support to promote educational excellence in Dexter’s community schools,” says Heidi Patel, President of the Dexter Educational Foundation.

Ms. Hendricks (Left Reading Intervention Teacher at Anchor/Beacon) and Sarah Mahatzke (Right-EFD Board Member). Hendricks received a grant to purchase decodable books.

“We provide financial support for programs that the district budget doesn’t have room for,” she adds.

The EFD distributes its funds in two grant cycles per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Educators seeking a grant apply first. The DTS then reviews the grant application and votes.

“We just completed our fall grant cycle where we awarded over $34,000 for 19 grants,” says Patel. “Since its inception in 1985, EFD has funded nearly $1 million in grants for district initiatives.”

DTS Fall 2021 grants totaled $34,503.16.

  • Horse Therapy – Kalli Nowitzke – Mill Creek
  • Outdoor activities for Alt. Students of Education – Shelley Rychener – Alt Ed. SH
  • Adapted Music for Students with Special Needs – Bates, Wylie, MC, DHS
  • Adv. Bio-Zoological Zoo Field Tour – Leslie Tracy – DHS
  • Class Library Books – Alli Mattson – DHS
  • Loaner Helmet – Steve Wincent – Mill Creek
  • Sensory Support for Students with Special Needs – Kim Evanski – Beacon
  • Trip to the SNAP Zoo – Erica Ehinger – DHS
  • Electrophoresis equipment to examine DNA – Ruth Hamilton – DHS
  • Shelves and oven supports – Roger Sprau – DHS
  • Periodicals for the Wylie Library – Meredith Nickerson – Wylie
  • MSU Model UN Conference – Angela Chea – DHS
  • Oceanography Textbooks for the National Ocean Science Bowl – Wilbur Tong – DHS
  • Brewing Independence – Mary Visel – DHS
  • “The Regulatory Areas” Book Sets – Tricia Winder – Anchor/Beacon
  • Digital Cameras – Krickett Chamberlain – DHS
  • Iron Dread Conjugate Equipment – Chris Whittaker – DHS (used by grades 5-12)
  • Decodable Books – Megan Hendricks – Anchor/Beacon
  • Drones for the Flight Class – David Yon – Mill Creek

“We just want to make sure people know we’re trying to fund excellence in Dexter’s schools,” says Patel. “We try to help teachers as much as possible.”

DHS teachers Ms. Tracy (left) and Ms. Hamilton (right) received grants for a field trip to an advanced biology-zoology zoo and electrophoresis equipment to examine DNA.

EFD’s efforts enable educators to have a more meaningful impact in the classroom.

In response to a grant for the MSU Model United Nations conference, an educator replied, “Thank you so much! You have no idea what a relief this is in terms of funding. We look forward to a great experience.”

“We are VERY EXCITED!! Thank you so much for your thoughtful consideration and generous support of our grant application! We feel so fortunate to be able to ask for this kind of support in our own community. We greatly appreciate the education foundation,” said said another teacher whose grant was for outdoor activities for alternative education students.

While EFD does the work, Patel is quick to point the finger at the community. “I would like to thank the generous support of the community and donors. We had a rivalry match between the Chelsea Ed Foundation and the Dexter Education Foundation at the Chelsea-Dexter football game where we raised over $21,000. We were excited to lift this and give it directly to teachers. It is only through the generosity of people and the support of the community that we are able to fund the grants.

For more information about The Educational Foundation of Dexter, visit their website at

Kaitlyn Nelson (EFD left-wing board member) and Ms. Nickerson (right-wing media specialist at Wylie) who received a grant to purchase periodicals for Wylie’s library.

Photos courtesy of EFD

Dino J. Dotson