Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation goes online for funding

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Bob Whitmore, left and Adam DeYoung endorse DubLi as a way for the community to aid Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation through their shopping habits. DubLi members spending online will raise money for GAEF. “It’s Shop, Save, Support,” said DeYoung.

Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation wants to become a household name in the community, and it is leaping into the modern age to connect with its intended audience.

GAEF has launched two interactive websites to inform online visitors to the purpose of the organization and make contributing money easy, and to sponsor a fundraising initiative that won’t really cost donors anything.

GAEF formed in 1997 as a way to involve the community in the educational programs of the Greencastle-Antrim School District. It sought to build endowments to support athletics, arts, Tayamentasachta Environmental Center and scholarships, acknowledging that property taxes couldn’t cover some of the enrichment opportunities. Through the years it has distributed over $100,000 in scholarships and mini-grants to organizations, and administered endowments on behalf of individuals and families. These functions will continue, but the board wants to pump up the endowment funds to meet the needs of “Children First”, the school district creed for 25 years.

GAEF

The board is operated by superintendent Dr. Greg Hoover, president; Don Chlebowski, vice president; Jeff Shank, secretary; Kristy Faulkner, treasurer; Joel Fridgen, executive director; and members Mike Still, Melinda Cordell, Garon Gembe, Dr. Robert Whitmore and Ed Wine.

News on GAEF activities, methods to donate online, and contact information is available at gaefonline.org

“We’re redesigning the website, really getting things moving,” said Whitmore.

That includes interaction through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The goal is to raise awareness about the foundation and get more people to support the programs. For a number of reasons, the organization doesn’t have the funds it used to.

“We are a community education non-profit, dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for people in the community,” continued Whitmore. “We’ve had to scale back our scholarship program due to money.”

GAEF is also setting up an alumni association so students who have passed through the halls of the  school district in their formative years can give back. Membership gives them various types of communication during the year. People who connect with GAEF, either through the website or in person at the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, are encouraged to contribute to any of the specific funds: Alumni Association, Arts, Athletics, Tayamentasachta, Scholarships, GA-MAAX, General Fund or Naming Rights.

What is DubLi?

GAEF is partnering with DubLi, an online shopping program that returns money to the host organization and to the consumers.

“It is the world’s largest online shopping mall,” said DubLi Network team leader Adam DeYoung. He joined the company last year, and graduated from Greencastle-Antrim High School in 2014.

He explained that over 4,000 companies used DubLi, Inc. to pay customers to shop at their stores online. Cashback rewards are available through retail, travel and entertainment outlets. The business  was founded in 2003.

The major travel booking agencies such as Priceline, Hotwire and Hotels.com are part of DubLi. Retail merchants start with Walmart, Best Buy, Gap and overstock.com. Finance and insurance companies are also participating, as well as cell service providers like Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. The entertainment portion includes music, videos and games.

“Everyone shops at their stores anyway,” said DeYoung. “We’re not asking anyone to do anything different. Keep shopping where you shop, and you get money back.”

Three types of membership are available, with 30 percent of membership and commissionable revenue going to GAEF. People can sign up for free at shopforgaef.com and receive various cashback allowances at each site. The  premium membership is $4.95 per month with 4 percent rewards. The VIP membership is $99 a year and 6 percent cashback.

DeYoung shot off an ambitious target. One thousand VIP members would bring in $30,000 for GAEF.

Whitmore advocated any membership level.

“It won’t cost them, they will save money and help the foundation.”