The Longbranch Foundation was just one of 18 Key Peninsula donors to the Peninsula Hawks Scholarship Fund in 2022, but it’s also one of the biggest institutional supporters of KP schools.
And it wants to get bigger.
“We used to give about $700 or maybe $1,000 a year to Evergreen, and we used to give $1,000 scholarships to one or two students,” said Barb Floyd, TLF board president emerita and current vice president. “Now we have a five-year plan for scholarships of $100,000.”
TLF was created by board members of the Longbranch Improvement Club, which had been helping the community for a century, including giving scholarships to Evergreen students.
“The foundation was formed as a fundraising mechanism for the LIC in 2016 with six charitable purposes,” Floyd said. “Three of those benefit the LIC directly: the marina, the building and the grounds. The other three are targeted for scholarships, other community nonprofits, and a general category that allows us a lot of flexibility to further support the community as needed.”
The foundation’s 501(c)(3) status provide it a tax incentive for donors, so it has been able to grow its base.
TLF awards scholarships to Peninsula High School seniors from the KP through the Hawks fund and to past award-winners continuing their education or vocational training.
“We gave four new scholarships and four recurring to kids who are in school this year,” Floyd said. First-time awards were in the amount of $2,000 and recurring were $1,500. “All of that money goes through the Hawks because they have the connections to the schools and the ability to handle it.”
Since its founding, TLF has given away 35 scholarships to 18 different students.
“We review the portfolios that the seniors put together (to apply for a Hawks scholarship) and then our Higher Education Committee picks who should receive the scholarship,” Floyd said. “As far as the recurring scholarships go, we ask the kids that are in school to get back to us and tell us how they’re doing.”
TLF has also given grants directly to Evergreen Elementary School to support programs and pay for supplies. Like the LIC before it, TLF continues to give grants for fifth graders to attend YMCA Camp Seymour on Glen Cove overnight to study the environment.
“We decided last year that we had enough money to extend our support to Key Peninsula Middle School,” Floyd said and, working with KPMS staff, they came up with The Longbranch Foundation Mini Grant Program.
“The teachers can apply to us for grants for special projects for up to $1,000, and since that time we have awarded grants to build a drone, to build mobile raised garden beds to provide access to physically challenged students, and a trip is planned to a farm that employs disabled workers,” she said. “We’re also working on a mural for an ocean, atmosphere and climate unit that the students are doing; it’s an ocean scene that reflects the effects of pollution and stresses the importance of reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Jan Prichard, TLF students program chair, said the foundation has been working with staff at Evergreen and KPMS to identify needs and fill them. That has ranged from supplies for the school nurse to rain boots for students. “Eventually we set up a teacher’s special need fund and an afterschool scholarship fund. We didn’t want anybody to miss out,” she said.
TLF has also awarded grants to the STEM program at Evergreen to help students create a weather station and to buy and build robots that allow kids to learn simple coding. “We also spent a little money for recess games and phonics books,” she said.
“We want especially to promote experiences, since so many kids don’t get off the Key Peninsula really. We were all ready to do a field trip to the waterfront and then Covid hit. We’re still aiming to enhance the experiences for students, like the middle school farm trip, and will do our best to make that happen. But meanwhile we’re making sure that kids have food and supplies,” Prichard said.
TLF may extend its reach to Vaughn and Minter Creek Elementary schools as well, Floyd said, but are short on volunteers to get that done.
Michele Gorman, TLF board president, said “The foundation needs to have a better understanding of what everybody is doing — the PTAs, other organizations — to support the community and if there’s any overlap, and we certainly would need more volunteers, that’s for sure.”
Gorman also identified a need for mentoring students. “We help them in elementary and now a little in middle school, and then not until they graduate,” she said. “I am certain there is a gap for many students and that a little bit of support could push them in the direction to feeling confident enough to apply for a grant, or even to consider what their options are after high school.”
“I believe the foundation is accomplishing much more than originally intended, which makes us very proud,” Floyd said.
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