Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Delegate Keam quoted in Reston Patch about Education Foundation

New Fairfax County Foundation To Aid Underprivileged Students

By Andre L. Taylor, January 5, 2011

County officials unveil new public-private initiative.

Businesses and individuals will be able to donate to a new foundation that will use the money to pay for programs to help county students pursue a college education and beyond.

The foundation is the result of a partnership between the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and Fairfax County Public Schools.

"It's very important for the businesses here to support this initiative," chamber President and CEO Jim Corcoran. "Our students are the ones who go to these businesses."

Corcoran and Fairfax County School Superintendent Jack Dale announced the partnership at the school system's headquarters on  Tuesday.

Four years in the making, the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools is a tax-exempt business that will enable students to meet high academic standards, Dale said.

The foundation has raised $175,000 from the originating board members, Cororan said. Businesses and individuals will be able to earmark where they want their money to go within the foundation. Money can be donated to the foundation overall or other categories like AP/IB fees, athletic fees, needy kids, young scholars, college access or the Early Identification Program.

Dale said students could use the money to receive glasses, school supplies or advanced testing. Teachers could get grants to attend seminars, he said.

"We're poised to formally have this off the ground," Dale said. "It's going to allow people to give to their favorite initiatives within the school system."

Faizan Aslam, 18,  a 2010 graduate of Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria and an engineering major at Northern Virginia Community College, says  he needed financial and motivational support to get through high school. He said at Tuesday's announcement that the initiative would help more students realize their potential.

"I think this is a great idea because a lot of people have money problems," Aslam said. "This will be more motivation for the students who now will see a dedication in their future from the school system and businesses."

Del. Mark L. Keam (D-35th District) said the government can't always  provide all needs, and private-public partnerships are a way to bridge the gap, Keam said.

"Unfortunately, Fairfax County schools aren't receiving as much money as they should based on the county's population," Keam said. "We have more ESOL students here than any other county in the commonwealth, but we don't get as much as everyone else in public funding. That's based on the earned income of the county overall."

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