"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Issac Newton
How It All Began:
Since it's first grant was made in 1994, the 21st Century Fund for HVRHS has awarded over $270,000 dollars in grants to teachers and students. The Fund contributed toward the original seed money for the HVRHS Robotics, Envirothon and Electric Car teams. It has funded trips to China, Panama, Germany, Maine, Washington, D.C., New Orleans and elsewhere; and paid for dozens of student programs in diversity, leadership, career building, as well as professional development opportunities for teachers.
Our largest and most significant project has been the creation of the Mahoney-Hewat Science and Technology Center, for which the Fund raised $540,000 dollars and hours of “sweat equity” from the community to make this center for hands-on-learning a reality.
A Brief History
1993 Housatonic Valley Regional High School (HVRHS) Principal, John L. “Jack” Mahoney took a special leave to travel around the US to visit exemplary schools. He learned that many schools work with educational foundations to fund programs that are not covered by the regular school budget. Jack, along with like-minded community members, founded The 21st Century Fund for HVRHS to provide funds for students and teachers in Region One. Their motto was Excellence for Everyone.
The group became one of the first educational funds under the umbrella of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Over time, The 21st Century Fund developed an operating and endowed fund there.
1994 The 21st Century Fund surveyed the HVRHS faculty to see how they would use grants and what areas they felt would benefit from the money. Overwhelmingly the faculty saw a need to target “general” students and to help them identify career opportunities. A course was developed called Career Exploration; it gave students an opportunity to shadow or intern at a local business in a career interest area. A career center was opened and the Fund helped pay for a career center aide.
1995 Over the next four years, the Fund transitioned to helping students and faculty expand their experiences beyond the classroom. Criteria for awarding grants was set, a grant application was developed, partnerships with local community residents and businesses became stronger and bi-laws were developed. The number of board members increased as well, and The 21st Century Fund became an integral part of life at HVRHS.
1999 With the support of their donors, the 21st Century Fund was now awarding $10,000 per year in grants.
2008 The Fund decided to spearhead the conversion of the old Clarke B. Wood Agricultural Building into the a center for innovative and enriching education. They raised over $500,000 and inspired over 100 people to create the Mahoney-Hewat Science and Technology Center, the vision of Jack and Diane Hewat a long time board member and loyal benefactor became a reality.
2014 The 21st Century Fund for HVRHS became an independent non-profit corporation, although Berkshire Taconic still manages its endowment fund.
2015 The Fund received a significant endowment gift from the Estate of Barbara Bornemann to expand its ability to fund humanitarian pursuits. Board receives governance and "best practices" training through Non-Profit Learning Program.
2017 The 21st Century Fund launches an Annual Ingenuity Competition.
Click here for a list of grants from 2004-2015 .
Click here for more information on HVRHS .
Click here for more information on Berkshire Taconic.