Education Foundation: Here’s how you can help

Published 9:14 am Sunday, April 22, 2018


When Sprint formally opened its store doors at 8425 Memorial Blvd., Port Arthur, on Friday, store manager Lynn Courville said hello to our community in the best possible way: She made a donation on behalf of Sprint to the Port Arthur Education Foundation.

“Everyone should have the opportunity for a wonderful education and the chance to succeed,” she said. “We wanted to contribute to something to do with education and children.”

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That mindset reflects the best intentions of Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s CEO, but also the driving philosophy behind the Education Foundation itself, which was formed to enhance educational excellence by funding classroom innovation and enhanced classroom experiences.

Jeff Hayes, chair of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Education Foundation’s executive board, said the foundation helps support the Port Arthur Independent School District, Sabine Pass Independent School District and Lamar State College Port Arthur.

Over the years, he said, the foundation has doled out some $800,000 in support of the schools, and it continues to broaden its scope and deepen its commitment.

Joe Tant of the Port Arthur chamber, who administrates the fund, said the Education Foundation distributed some $365,000 from August 2017, the month when Hurricane and Tropical Storm ravaged our community, through February. Over the course of the year, he said, the Education Foundation awarded $464,750.79.

“We’re reaching for a million,” Hayes said of the foundation’s next looming benchmark. Tant said the foundation would get there soon enough.

Among new facets to the mission: The Education Foundation is widening its scope to include support for individual members of the Coast Guard and Coast Guard families who want to attend Lamar State College. They hope to extend their first offer of support soon. Who better to serve than those who serve our country?

Foundation board member Elizabeth Cravens, vice president of administrative affairs, says the idea behind the foundation is simple enough. It collects donations and turns them around quickly where needed. Much of the support comes from local industries.

“We are blessed to have the industry we have,” she said. Indeed we are.

At its recent “State of Education Luncheon,” the foundation listed among its major sponsors these industry-related concerns: Texas Gas Service, Valero Energy Foundation, Sempra LNG & Midstream, Sempra Energy Foundation, Entergy, Cheniere and Golden Pass LNG. There are many others.

Our community should be especially grateful for the generosity of those sponsors and others who, although they were themselves beset with storm-related worries, thought to support their community around them.

Want to be like the generous sponsors who uplifted public education in a dire time? Here’s how you can find out more:

Port Arthur Education Foundation

501 Procter St., Suite 300

Port Arthur, Texas, 77642