MAILED: Aug. 3, 2000
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation recently received $2,000 in grant monies from Pleasant Company, the creator of the American Girl dolls and books.
The gift will be used to help fund a summer clinic for elementary and secondary school children who have individualized needs in specific academic and social areas.
UW-Eau Claire's department of special education has sponsored the clinic for about 20 years, department chair Vicki Snider said.
The Learning Enhancement and Progression Clinic, commonly referred to as the LEAP clinic, has been located at several different public schools in Eau Claire, Snider said. For the past three years it has been held at Longfellow Elementary School.
The clinic serves 50-60 children each summer. Several of these children need financial assistance in order to attend, and the gift from Pleasant Company will be used to provide scholarships for families who cannot afford the tuition fee.
"Many children who come from low-income families can benefit from academic support and extra instruction during the summer, and this money should allow about 12 students to attend the clinic who would not otherwise have been able to enroll," Snider said.
UW-Eau Claire was selected as a grant recipient, because its involvement in this program supports the company's goal to educate and entertain children, Pleasant Company public relations manager Julie Parks said. "This program reflects a true commitment to offering quality educational opportunities to children in the Chippewa Valley."
UW-Eau Claire is one of six organizations in the area to receive grant money from Pleasant Company this year. The other organizations include United Way of Greater Eau Claire, Eau Claire Children's Theatre, Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Chippewa Valley Inc. and the Chippewa Valley Museum.
Parks said this is the second year Pleasant Company has provided grant money to organizations in the Eau Claire area.
"We have a deep commitment to our mission to educate and entertain children and feel strongly about supporting organizations, especially those in communities where we have a presence, that share this same philosophy," Parks said. "We feel it is important to continue to support various organizations that closely match our philanthropic goals."
This is Pleasant Company's first donation to UW-Eau Claire. According to Marcia Van Beek, director of major gifts for the Foundation, this donation is an example of the results of renewed efforts by the board of directors to encourage financial support from local businesses.
Twenty-one board members and volunteers have assisted in visiting more than 100 local businesses to ask for support, Van Beek said.
Other results of these efforts include first-time gifts from Marshfield Clinic, Traci's Green Interiors and Spectrum Industries.
Several businesses whose giving had lapsed also renewed their donations, and many businesses increased their current giving. In some cases, businesses even doubled the amount of their previous gifts, Van Beek said.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Aug. 4, 2000