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QPS Foundation kicks off Dream Big Campaign

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QUINCY — COVID-19 may have forced changes to the Quincy Public Schools Foundation's Dream Big Annual Campaign, but the overall goal remains the same to support the school district, its staff and its students.

The foundation kicked off the third annual effort virtually on Facebook and YouTube Friday night with a goal of raising $200,000 by Jan. 10.

"The needs are probably going to be both unpredictable and unprecedented. We're trying to be ready for that throughout the coming year," QPS Foundation Executive Director Kent Embree said. "We want to be able to offer grants to teachers specifically and to the district based on what their current needs are."

New outreach efforts for this year's campaign include:

  • A "Week to Dream Big" campaign blitz Nov. 2-6 featuring a weeklong virtual auction. The blitz replaces, in this pandemic year, the annual Dream Big Gala with its live and silent auctions and award honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to QPS throughout their careers or personal lives.
  • An emphasis on peer-to-peer fundraising from QHS alumni and the foundation's board members without specific volunteer chairs for this year's campaign.
  • A "Battle of the Decades" allowing alumni to participate in giving back to the school district online with "bragging rights" and likely some type of event next year.

"As we enter into the 2020 Dream Big Annual Campaign, in a very different way, we remain strongly committed to its success," QPS Foundation President Lindsay Ertel said.

Unrestricted gifts to the campaign allow the foundation to provide larger grants supporting five "pillars" of curriculum, technology, athletics, fine arts and endowment.

The QPS Foundation also encourages donations for endowed funds it maintains called Circles of Investment, which have specific designations across the school district.

Embree said last year's effort approached the $2 million mark in support for QPS, due mostly to the alumni-driven campaign for the $1.6 million Flinn Stadium expansion.

Other large projects supported last year included equipment and materials for the machine shop at Quincy Area Vocational Technical Center, new musical instruments, updated printing technology in the graphic arts classroom, STEM curriculum using LEGO robotics programs for the elementary schools and new chromebooks for Quincy Junior High School.

A grant application process each fall and spring helps connect foundation funds with district needs and classroom learning.

"We want to make sure we're encouraging creative teaching and new ideas in the classroom," Embree said. "It will be really neat to see what ideas teachers have this year."

How to donate

Gifts to the Dream Big Campaign may be made through the QPS Foundation office at Quincy High School, through the mail, through the foundation's website,, or by texting "QPSF" to 44-321 on a mobile device. Find the foundation on Facebook at and on YouTube at "QPS Foundation."

By Deborah Gertz Husar Herald-Whig


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