Chico High School Foundation Setting a New Standard
In 2003, the Chico High School Foundation (CHSF) was formed. Three years later it oversees more than $240,000 in donor advised and endowed funds.
It began when three teachers asked the retiring principal, Roger Williams, to start a 501(c)(3) foundation in order to qualify for private sector grant opportunities. Williams and a dedicated group of former CHS employees, alumni, and parents formed a committee, established by-laws, developed a brochure and asked the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) to be part of the effort. The NVCF accepted the CHSF application, and the Chico High Foundation was launched in full partnership with the NVCF.
NVCF is responsible for the accounting and investing of donated monies, while the CHSF focuses on its planned mission of raising funds to enrich and enhance academic and extra-curricular program opportunities for CHS students.
Last year, the CHS Foundation established a mini-grant program for teachers, which allocated $5000 for the purchase of needed items at the school. In addition to this program, the CHS Foundation allocates scholarship monies to a dozen or more students to advance their education beyond the high school experience. One anonymous donor has given $20,000 over the past two years to assist students pursuing a career in the engineering field. Three individuals each have generously given $5000 to start an endowed scholarship in their names or the name of a designated family member.
In 2005, the CHSF board initiated an annual dinner recognition celebration to honor an alumnus of the year and a “Friend of CHS”. The CHSF board was pleased to honor Harry Merlo, founder and CEO of Louisiana Pacific, as the recipient of the first distinguished alumnus award. Dallas Lewis, former CEO of Baldwin Construction, was recognized as the “Friend” recipient for his unselfish support of an all weather track on the CHS campus. This fall, Ben Bertagna class of ’45 was honored posthumously as the “Alumnus of the Year” for his contributions to agriculture and the Chico FFA. In addition to recognizing Ben, four generations of the Bertagna families were also acknowledged for their significant FFA achievements. The “Friend” recognition was awarded to Tom Dauterman, owner of Thomas Welding and Machinery, for supporting and assisting a variety of students in the agriculture-welding field over many decades.
The CHS Foundation respectfully asks alumni, parents, retired staff members and community members to consider an investment in students and assist a dedicated group of teachers in the delivery of quality education for all students. In the final analysis, public is free, but quality learning experience requires extra support. We urge you to support the foundation and to contribute to the future of all students at Chico High School.