Daniel Foundation awards $150,000 to charter school

University Charter School has been selected to receive a $150,000 contribution from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama to support the newly-established charter school. This is the largest single monetary contribution to the school to date.

The contribution from the Daniel Foundation will be used for start-up technology needs and curriculum components throughout the planning year, which began in October of 2017 and continues through September of this year. Funds will also support general operating costs through the first year of the school’s opening.

UCS Head of School Dr. J.J. Wedgworth said that the contribution is a significant boost for the school’s long list of needs.

“We requested funds to support start-up costs and operational costs associated with the implementation of the personalized, STREAM, project-based and place-based curriculum in an innovative rural school setting,” Wedgworth explained. “The costs of implementing such an innovative and progressive model are steep, but with this support from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, we are well on the way to providing state-of-the-art tools and resources for the families of Sumter County and the extended region.”

The Daniel Foundation of Alabama is a viable presence in the philanthropic community of Alabama, supporting educational, health, humanitarian and cultural activities in Birmingham and throughout Alabama.

“We hope our funding serves as an encouragement for other funding,” said Maria S. Kennedy, executive director of the Daniel Foundation of Alabama. “We continue to be excited about being a part of the good work taking place in the communities throughout Alabama.”

UCS is one of Alabama’s first public charter schools, and it is midway through its planning year as granted by the Alabama Public Charter School Commission upon approval without condition of its charter application in July of 2017. The school will open as a pre-K through eighth grade school in August, adding a grade each year thereafter until becoming a pre-K through twelfth grade school in 2022.

The school has a capacity for 350 students in grades pre-k through eighth for the academic year beginning in August. Pre-registration periods for both Sumter County residents and non-Sumter residents ended in January.

The Daniel Foundation’s contribution is added to more than $430,000 in community support that has been pledged. This includes a $6,000 grant from Tombigbee RC&D to build a fence for a designated playground. Support has been received from parents of area school children, community members, business and industry leaders, public officials, and other community leaders. The University of West Alabama, as sponsor of the school’s application and community partner, has also pledged in-kind support for the school.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, March 3 issue of the Demopolis Times.)