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What do snowshoes, African drums, pens for veterans, frogs, toads and snakes all have in common? They were some of the many grants awarded to Sun Prairie staff during the 16 years that Sun Prairie Education Foundation (SPEF) volunteer trustees have been providing monies for extraordinary activities not funded by the Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD).

A grant for snowshoes was awarded to Patrick Marsh students to explore the outdoor education lab near the Marsh. The African drums were requested by a music teacher to share with the students the sounds of a culture developed over hundreds of years on a different continent. The grant for the pens was submitted by a tech. ed. teacher to manufacture pens that were given to Badger Honor Flight veterans. The frogs, toads and snakes were a lyceum presented to kindergarteners after a grant was given for a presentation on reptiles.

The SPEF has received 567 grant requests to date and has awarded 356 of them for a total of more than $600,000.

The SPEF was established by a group of business and community leaders to enhance educational experiences in the SPASD. Early trustees included Ollie Berge, Ron Blawusch, Nancy Everson, Glenn Fenske, Randy Handel, Tom Hebl, Kip Kobussen, Dan Matson, Chris Mertes, Beth Mielcarek, Kevin Noskowiak, Chris Swenson, Rita Tubbs, and Tom Yelich.

SPEF grants are awarded twice during each school year after grant writers submit a proposal for something that will make learning more enriching for their group of students. It has been a challenge during the pandemic, but the educators are looking forward to the time that classes will be in person once again and can enjoy the personal relationships built into the classroom and beyond.

The grant proposal forms can be accessed by using the Sun Prairie Education Foundation website ( Any individual in the SPASD can apply, including staff, parents and students. The spring grant cycle’s deadline is April 5, 2021.

Learn more about the SPEF online at and like SPEF on Facebook.

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