The Cook Family Foundation announces a one million dollar grant opportunity for the Owosso Public Schools, contingent on voter approval of the proposed bond issue on February 24. If the community votes to upgrade its school facilities, the Foundation will provide $500,000 for equipment to outfit vocational education classrooms and $500,000 to support development and use of a pool for community use.
“We have long partnered with the community on education,” said Foundation President Bruce Cook. “We are ready and excited to now make our largest grant ever, and to make it in support of Owosso and its schools.” Last year, the Cook Family Foundation made grants totaling $583,000, and the proposed $1,000,000 grant would be above and beyond the Foundation’s usual grant-making.
The Owosso Board of Education last fall made a decision to seek voter approval for a bond proposal to provide new and renovated educational facilities for grades 6-12 and significant improvement in all school buildings. More information on the bond proposal is available from the Owosso Public Schools (click here).
“The proposed building improvements offer many ways for the schools to partner with the community,” said Owosso Schools Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle. “We are excited about the opportunities created by this generous offer from the Cook Family Foundation.” The Foundation and the schools will work with local employers and business organizations to determine what equipment to install in new CTE classrooms funded by the proposal.
Partnerships will also be sought with local government and community organizations to determine how best to design and operate the existing pool as a community asset. The bond proposal would build a new regulation-sized pool that meets competition standards. The existing pool, which would be kept at a warmer temperature than an athletic pool, would then be available for community use for swim classes for youth, water aerobics for adults, and family recreational swims.
The Foundation does not take a position on any ballot measures. Bruce Cook had this to say about the millage election, “We recognize that this is an important decision by voters in the Owosso School District, and we hope that citizens take the time to give their vote the consideration it deserves. We too have given our funding decision important consideration, and believe it to be a wise investment in our community”
The Cook Family has had a long involvement with the Owosso Schools. Donald Cook, the founder of the Foundation, graduated from Owosso High School in 1920, as have members of the next three generations of the family. Two members of the Cook Family, Jackie Cook and Laurie Caszatt Cook, have served on the Owosso School Board. One of the first grants the Foundation awarded was in 1978 to make landscaping improvements at the Owosso High School, and over the years the Foundation has supported mini-grants for teachers, scholarships for students, and the development of the International Baccalaureate Programme, among other grants.
“Strong schools are critical to the future of our community, the health of its economy, and the success of our young people,” said Bruce Cook. “If the community makes a decision to invest in the Owosso Public Schools, then we want to do our part too.”