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  About the
Helena Education Foundation
The Helena Education Foundation (HEF) is
a leader among Montana’s public school foundations. Supporting students and educators, the Foundation enriches our
schools, helping to make our Helena community a healthy, happy and prosperous place to live, work and raise a family.
HEF’s programs benefit students, teachers, parents, administrators and the community. No doubt, you or someone you know, has been impacted by our work.
n NEW Special Projects were developed and imple- mented to accommodate the unique needs of our students and educators during the 2020/2021 school year. With the generosity of many Helena citizens and businesses, we launched Specialists Backpacks for all K-5th graders in the district, each containing a variety of PE and music equipment to enable students to learn both at school and at home. For Thanksgiving, we organized over 80 kind volunteers to write thank-you cards to every school employee; and in December, we helped launch Lights On, Helena! to show support for front-line workers by keeping holiday lights on through February.
n Carnival Classic kicks off each school year with a community-wide celebration of public education.
n Fabulous Firsts gives all incoming first graders (more than 600) award-winning, hard cover books of their own and full sets to school libraries.
n Trading Places fosters understanding and collaboration by linking community and school leaders.
n Great Conversations provides a night of thought- provoking conversation about relevant topics to promote lifelong learning.
n Great Ideas Grants awards more than $40,000 annually to teachers for innovative classroom projects and experiences.
n NEW Mini Great Ideas launched in the 2020/2021 school year to offer additional funding for enrichment opportunities for students—awarding more than $10,000 during the program’s first year.
n Celebration of Excellence honors distinguished graduating scholars, achievers and their educators— celebrating excellence, drive and leadership.
n Let’s Talk About Great Teachers acknowledges,
in conjunction with Great Conversations, exceptional educators who make a difference in the lives of our children every day.
n Issues Institutes provide unique learning opportunities on current and emerging topics affecting youth and families; and topics that elevate our community and enhance the desirability of Helena as a place to live. Recent Issues Institutes have addressed opioid addition (Chasing the Dragon) and teen suicide (Cracked Not Broken).
NEW In 2021 we provided virtual Issues Institutes including a Q&A with former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, a discussion about QAnon:
A Conspiracy for Our Time with Jono Drake and Raph Graybill, and a Celebration of Earth Day with a Trip to Mars with NASA’s Dr. Chris McKay.
n Harrison Writing Awards focus on the importance of writing skills and recognize outstanding young writers with cash awards.
n Pen & Ink magazine features the creative work of student writers and artists.

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