CRANFORD, - The Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence, a community non-profit organization that works to enhance learning opportunities for Cranford’s public school students, is kicking off its new publicity campaign with a “Grapes for Grants” open house at Alluem at the Mill.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held April 25 from 7 to 10 p.m. There is no charge to attend, but donations will be accepted. To attend, please RSVP to cranfordfund@yahoo.com

Created more than 15 years ago by community volunteers who wanted to energize educational offerings in the district schools, the Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence has awarded more than $200,000 for programs that fall outside the regular school budget. Grants have been awarded for programs in technology, math, the arts, world language, literacy and other areas. The most recent grant was for an innovative computer-based middle school music composition program.

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The Fund recently embarked on a new plan of growth and refocus, expanding its Board of Trustees; forging new connections with district schools; reaching out to the community; and planning fundraisers. A new Cranford Fund website will launch soon.

The Fund is now accepting applications for grants for classroom programs that will benefit a new generation of Cranford students.

"The Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence has a proud history of supporting programs for Cranford students. In the past, the Fund has awarded grants to initiatives reaching into classrooms from elementary school to high school, in areas from technology to the arts," said Susan Caruso Green, co-president and a founding member of the Cranford Fund.

"We are excited about bringing new learning opportunities to Cranford students. We have been laying important groundwork since last spring, and are ready to begin providing exciting new resources for our schools," she said.

The goals of the Cranford Fund are:

    To foster academic excellence by creating an environment that nurtures a rich variety of teaching and learning experiences.

    To serve as a catalyst for school change, which enhances learning opportunities for children.

    To encourage and support innovative projects which enable our youth to continue to prosper in an increasingly complex world.

One specific grant, the Sarah Van Why Grants for the Arts, named in memory of a long-time Cranford Fund supporter, is specifically earmarked for the arts and family and consumer sciences.

The Grapes for Grants event on April 25, which includes a wine-tasting, food, and a “Cork Pull” fundraiser with great prizes, will allow the community to learn about the Cranford Fund’s future plans and other upcoming events.  Alluem at the Mill is located at 347 Lincoln Avenue, in Cranford. An RSVP, to cranfordfund@yahoo.com, is required to attend.

Cranford Fund board members are looking forward to a successful event.

 “The Cranford Fund is poised and ready to play an important role in Cranford's schools again. We look forward to helping provide programs that will truly benefit our students. But to do so, we will need support from the community," said Peter Turnamian, co-president of the Cranford Fund.

"If you are a parent or teacher, or Cranford High School alumnus and would like to get involved with our work, please contact us. We will be sharing more information soon about fundraisers, and inviting the community to join us in our mission and our work. Cranford residents should stay tuned and check our website frequently. There will be many opportunities for people to contribute and help grow the Cranford Fund to the benefit of our teachers and students," he said.

 

The deadline for applications for Cranford Fund grants is April 13. Applications may be filed by teachers, teacher teams, administrators or other district staff, and may be submitted with partner organizations such as a PTA.

Tax-deductible contributions to the Cranford Fund may be sent to the Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence at PO Box 1627, Cranford, NJ 07016.

For more information, email Susan Caruso Green at scgreen@aol.com; or Peter Turnamian at pturnamian@gmail.com.