FRONT ROYAL – On Saturday, October 6th, the Board of Directors of the Warren County Educational Endowment (WCEE) celebrated reaching $1 million in investments. According to Endowment President Doug Stanley, “Since 1994, it has been our goal to grow the corpus or principal of the endowment to $1,000,000 which would generate an estimated $50,000+ per year in grants to support public education in Warren County. The corpus of the endowment is invested, and the income is used to directly assist in promoting creative efforts to foster educational excellence for the children of Warren County.” Stanley also noted that, to date, the Endowment has awarded 135 grants totaling $454,428.67, and a new round is planned for later this month to give out an additional $45,000.
As of August of this year, the Endowment stands at approximately $1,005,000. At the Endowment celebration Stanley, on behalf of the Board, current and former members, thanked all those in attendance for their support and contributions that have allowed the Endowment to reach this milestone stating, “Today we celebrate reaching this once distant milestone. Ttomorrow we roll up our sleeves and start to work on the next goal that our Board has set – $2.5 million for 2025.” To reach the next milestone, Stanley outlined a number of potential opportunities including:
- Continue the annual fund drive and golf tournament fundraisers
- Ask individual donors to consider making a bequest in their will for the Endowment.
- Ask individual donors to consider donating their 401k withdrawal directly to the Endowment.
- Consider donations of stock to avoid taking the capital gains tax hit while taking the full donation.
- Encourage representatives of local business or industry to support the Endowment.
On behalf of the Endowment, Stanley thanked all of the Endowment’s supporters, large and small, for their steadfast support of the Endowment over the past 20+ years and for investing in the future of Front Royal-Warren County the youth of the community.
Stanley noted that the Endowment also celebrated the contributions of John LaBarca who recently passed away. LaBarca was well-known in the community, having originally been involved in leading the team that selected the site and constructed the DuPont manufacturing facility in the 1970’s. After plant start-up, he was assigned as Assistant Plant Manager through 1985, at which time he became the Plant Manager at the Moberly plant in Missouri. He returned to Front Royal in 1990 as Plant Manager and remained in that position until his retirement in 2004.
According to founding member and long-time Board member John Marlow, “John has truly been the heart and soul of our organization. Much of the success of the Warren County Educational Endowment can be credited to the vision and efforts of John LaBarca. I do not believe that the highly successful ‘Project Lead the Way’ would even exist in Warren County without his leadership.”
Former Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Pamela McInnis added, “John LaBarca has always been a champion of education. He has made a significant, positive impact on Warren County Public Schools. John was a founding member of the Warren County Educational Endowment and through his leadership, guidance, and active participation, the Endowment has supported public schools and has played an important part in improving the educational experience for children in Warren County. Our Project Lead the Way Program’s success and expansion have been the result of John LaBarca’s leadership in engaging businesses and industry to become involved in educating the youth of their community. We will be forever grateful for his interest and assistance.”
Doug Stanley added, “John was a fixture of this organization since its inception. As a representative of local industry, John brought credibility to the organization. He truly understood the connection between education and the workforce. He brought institutional knowledge to each and every meeting and has been instrumental in helping the Endowment grow from a start-up organization to one with a corpus of over $1 million.”
The Endowment is a catalyst in improving the education and learning environment in Warren County Public Schools. Sometimes private support of public efforts is necessary to incubate an idea or a new approach that helps students compete in a global marketplace, instills passion for life-long learning, and sparks a vision to strive for success. Programs funded by the Endowment are sponsored by the public school system and are consistent with its mission and direction. They are intended to initiate sustained improvement in the fundamental capability of the school system and enhance the attractiveness of the community through the promotion of educational excellence.
Persons interested in supporting the Endowment can contact the Endowment at wceducationalendowment.org.