Miles of Pennies earns big for FD schools

Miles of Pennies concluded April 26, netting $8,820 after a month for the Fort Dodge Community School District.

Fort Dodge elementary and middle schools collected pennies, held competitions, participated in activities and accepted donations to fund school-specific projects. For Butler Elementary, it was a mobile lab. Riverside needed playground equipment. For other schools, the money raised will pay for new technology.

The Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation collects the money.

“If they make their goal, then the Foundation gives them an extra $100,” Tracy Hartley, Foundation coordinator, said. “We give back what they raised plus a bonus.”

This year, most of the schools met their goals. With the additional funds, the schools will receive a total of $9,420.

The Foundation was started in 1985, according to Hartley, and Miles of Pennies was formerly done in conjunction with a matching grant from the Catherine Vincent Deardorf Charitable Foundation.

“Whatever the school raised, the Deardorf Foundation used to match,” Hartley said. “We took it over.”

This tradition is now continued by the Foundation, with the schools leading the effort.

“The elementaries really do a fun, good job of it,” Hartley said. “This day, you’ve got spring and you had to wear summer stuff, so they bring the beach towel and sunglasses and if they paid 50 cents they could do that.”

According to Hartley, the Foundation is proud to participate in the effort.

“We’re really just a funneling agency,” she said. “But we’re the one that gets it going, we let the administration know when we’re thinking about it. We do it after testing so we’re not stressing all the teachers out before that.”

Other activities included a treat day and a day for wearing a hat, Hartley said.

“Some of the schools did grade – which grade raised the most money – and they got a reward or a little party,” she said. “They’ve really done some creative things.”

Helping the schools to make their goals was identifying their goals more clearly.

“This year, we wanted more specifics,” Hartley said. “When you have a specific goal and convey that to the kids and parents then they really rise to the challenge to meet it.”

The funds, Hartley said, will be paid out to the schools at the end of the week for their use.