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La Crosse Public Education Foundation announces $400,000 campaign to secure help for kids

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - School children with basic needs for clothing, school supplies, eyeglasses, hygiene supplies, and fees for field trips can benefit from a new endowment fund created by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation (LPEF).

For more than 20 years, LPEF has provided Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) funds to La Crosse public schools allowing school staff to provide support discreetly to children in need, when they need it, with no questions asked and no application required. Across 15 schools, the RAK program's total cost is nearly $30,000 per year. Spending has increased over the years.

LPEF has relied on annual fundraising from businesses and individuals to meet the need. Now, the foundation is creating the RAK Forever Fund–an endowment fund that will generate annual income to help offset the cost and make it easier to avoid limiting RAK spending due to fluctuations in fundraising.

The campaign goal is $400,000. The foundation said Tuesday that more than $300,000 already has been raised during the quiet phase of the campaign which exceeds the original goal set by the LPEF Board of Directors.

Alicia Place, the Community Service Coordinator for the School District of La Crosse, said nothing but good has come out of this program.

"Random Acts of Kindness is used for just so many different things for students. I appreciate RAK because there isn't a criterion or qualification or a need to prove income. If a child has a need or a parent or caretaker has a need, we can quickly meet that usually within in the same day," Place said. "I appreciate how we can quickly meet needs and not have a lot of red tape in the way to get what our kiddos need."

A leadership gift of $90,000 came from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Other major community gifts or pledges have been received from Altra Federal Credit Union, Coulee Bank, Sabina Bosshard, Dahl Family Foundation, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Elmwood Foundation, Fowler & Hammer Fund, Mayo Clinic Health System, Richard T. Record, Sue Anne Gelatt Foundation, Trane Family Foundation, and Trust Point. Also, donations have been made by all members of the LPEF Board, staff, and campaign leaders.

If you would like to donate to the RAK campaign visit here.

The La Crosse Public Education Foundation relies on volunteers to help with a number of events and activities. For more information on Board service, please contact Executive Director David Stoeffler at 608-787-0226 or email:  david@lacrosseeducationfoundation.org

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Lindsey Ford

Lindsey Ford is a multimedia journalist.

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