The Winters Education Foundation will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a mixer at Berryessa Winery on September 26

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The Winters Education Foundation (WEF) is hosting a social on Thursday, Sept. 26 to celebrate their tenth anniversary. The event will take place at Berryessa Gap Winery at 27260 Highway 128.

Locals, especially educators and parents of students in public schools, may remember WEF for their contribution of a technologies grant proposal; for Winters Middle School, Winters High School, and Wolfskill Continuation School. In 2013, Capay Valley’s Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation’s Yocha Dehe Community Fund awarded the proposal $353,720.

The money upgraded computer technologies at the schools already specified. The upgrades brought their systems into cohesion with those of the local elementary schools.

Waggoner Elementary and Shirley Rominger Intermediate  had already been implementing Chromebooks and iPads (attributable to a separate Yocha Dehe grant secured in 2011 by the Winters Combined PTA). WEF’s President Kurt Balasek told the Express the high school’s principal, Paul Fawcett, approached him with the idea for the proposal. He’d taught the school’s ROP/CTE Business Computer Applications class for three years.

The Foundation looks to faculty like Fawcett and others at these rural public schools to guide its decisions on where it will pour the pot.

“Without the teachers, we wouldn’t know how to spend our money,” said Balasek.

It was at the time of Fawcett’s approaching WEF that Secretary Jill Aguilar joined.

Via mini grants, teachers can receive aid from WEF for any of various efforts to enhance engagement, access, or security for students. Aguilar, who manages its submissions, said requests could be for anything.

“It ranges all the way from money for field trips to a budget for the year,” Aguilar said. Of the funds she directs in a year for WEF’s mini-grants, most are raised over the course of a day:

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s Big Day of Giving  annual fundraiser includes online crowdfunding where donors can browse a bulletin of non-profits to gift to.

WEF’s also fundraised in ways that epitomize small-town fundraising, more so than application-filing or taking a cause to the Internet. It co-hosted the Bike Criterium in 2012 and ran campaigns like the local-business-supported Add-a-Dollar, for example.

WEF will present to the school board this Thursday. The Foundation may announce its goal for establishing a non-wasting endowment.

Balasek said he’d rather not “sell hotdogs to raise money.”

“If you get an endowment,” he said, “you start to fund programs.”

In an email to the Express, Board Member Liz Coman said, “WEF continues to build partnerships with small local donors, Winters businesses and other Winters non-profit groups to raise funds and invest them wisely in our community.”

The anniversary celebration is from 5-7 p.m. WEF is calling the soiree a ‘Wine and Small Bites Social.’ It’s yet to announce what appetizers will be served.

Co-founder and former WEF President Rebecca Bresnick plans to attend.

“It’s amazing that 10 years has passed already,” she said.

Attendees over 21 will receive one free drink ticket. Interested persons RSVP to winterseducationfoundation@gmail.com by Monday, Sept. 23. To see the flyer, go to mywef.org.

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