FISD Education Foundation Helps District with Needed Funds


Ella Grandjean, Staff Writer

Imagine if we came to school, a place where countless students come to expand their horizons and future careers, and we were not afforded the opportunity to thrive in the environment. Instead of having access to advanced technology, updated books, and creative programs, we were left with a dreary allotment of resources. If the Fredericksburg Independent School District (FISD) campuses were left with the bare minimum, aeducational opportunities would surely suffer. The Fredericksburg ISD Education Foundation helps the district to combat this frightening scenario. Mark Przywara, who is the Vice President of Development for the Education Foundation, spoke about what the Foundation does for the schools in Fredericksburg. His efforts include many objectives, but the key aspects of his position are to raise awareness in the community about the Foundation and its purpose with respect to FISD.

The Education Foundation is the independent fundraising arm of FISD and funds teacher grants, innovative programs, and unique learning opportunities for students. They are a 501C3 charitable organization established in 2018 to support FISD. Operated by a volunteer board, they are composed of parents, alumni, and concerned citizens. Ultimately, their goal is to create a dual system where they have money for teacher grants as well as the ability to put money in an annuity investment that goes back into schools (e.g., to supplement teacher salaries).

“Step one is awareness, let’s get the word out and let’s get more people involved. We have a targeted approach to get more and more individuals and businesses involved,” Przywara said. “Over the past year, donations have increased over 62% as a result of increased awareness tied to multiple methods of advertising and communication.”

The Education Foundation wants to receive more teacher grants this year to allow them to place funds where they are needed. Funds are not just given – they always go to fulfill a grant request. According to Przywara, the Foundation exists to give back and help teachers do a better job. They are continually trying to make students and teachers aware of their program and what they are trying to accomplish within FISD.

“We are trying to put the money where it’s needed most. In the fall of 2022, $200,000 was the year-end fund-raising goal, and we raised over $213,000,” Przywara said. “Through the end of 2022, the Foundation has distributed over $450,000 back to the FISD across all of its campuses.”

Fredericksburg is considered a Robin Hood district. This past year 45% ($20 million/$6,800 per student) of the school taxes were taken back (recaptured) by the state to be distributed to other less fortunate school districts. Fredericksburg is considered “rich” within the state of Texas. The flipside of that is that over 60% of our students are in that at-risk category which is why so many students qualify for free lunches.

“Robin Hood started in the 90s and some school districts started their education foundations then, but Fredericksburg didn’t start until 2018,” Przywara said. “However, each year our Education Foundation raises awareness, adds more donors, and raises more money. All to offset the theory: Take from the rich, give to the poor.

The Foundation has funded numerous endeavors to support FISD and its various programs. One such recent example is the grant given to the Culinary Arts under the leadership of Micah Weldon at FHS. They received money for food truck supplies. The website ( lists many other grant awards and details from over the years.

In addition to fund raising, the Foundation has added programs to honor educators and support their efforts at education excellence.

“The Honor an Educator campaign is a way for individuals to honor past and present educators to bring awareness to the faculty,” Przywara said. “Our teachers need this type of support and really appreciate these types of acknowledgements.”

According to Przywara, all distributions are tied to specific grant requests and applications. These grants go a long way – and are for all students. As an example, the funding for certifications is not just for AP, and college credit students, but they are also for trade students

The Education Foundation is gaining more donors as the program continues to grow so they can give back more to the FISD. With this article, the focus is to let the students better understand the purpose of the Foundation, so that one day when they become alumni, they will understand the needs of the Education Foundation in Gillespie County and their community. In addition, FISD staff can also use this article to learn more about the Foundation and its purpose.

If you go to the website, there are numerous links about what the Foundation has done over the years as well as what we are striving to do over time. One can use this website to either donate funds or inquire as to how they can help the Foundation achieve their objectives.