At the Birmingham Board of Education meeting on April 10, 2012, the Community Foundation was represented by its president, Kate Nielsen, with the following statement:
“Throughout our 53-year history, the Community Foundation has listened to the citizens of this community and worked to respond.
“From 2007 to 2008, the Community Foundation organized, staffed and funded Yes We Can! Birmingham, an effort to listen to what the citizens and families all across the district wanted from their school system. We had 117 conversations in homes, in churches, in community centers, in public libraries. We heard from over 2,000 citizens. We recorded every word and we promised to support the interests of the families and their children documented in this Community Agreement (YWCB COMMUNITY AGREEMENT 092408).
“You, the Board of Education, used the Community Agreement to guide your strategic planning and in the recruitment package for Dr. Witherspoon and we thank you. Consequently this is the document, the voice of the families of Birmingham, that has also guided the successful work of Dr. Witherspoon.
“The Community Foundation has not only invested in the system to support students and families, we have also supported you, the Board of Education, with major grants to fund your strategic planning and Board training. Now we are asking you to provide stability to the school system by supporting the continued work of Dr. Witherspoon.
“We invite you, the Board of Education, to let the Community Foundation know how we can support you and Dr. Witherspoon in this effort to work together for the 25,000 students of Birmingham.”
You can download a copy of the Community Agreement (YWCB COMMUNITY AGREEMENT 092408) to read more about what our community’s citizens said they wanted for their children and their schools. The Birmingham Education Foundation, founded with a seed grant from the Community Foundation , currently is working with school officials to implement key elements of the Community Agreement and with the broader community to raise money in support of this on-going effort.