Dr. James Johnson
Assistant Professor
St. Cloud State University
MASA Foundation Chair (20-21)

As school leaders, past and present, many of us are active in supporting civic groups and foundations in the communities in which we serve and live. Whether it’s making a contribution or serving on a board, it’s a way for us to give back.  It’s part of our basic philosophy that participation in philanthropic activities makes the organizations and communities around us stronger. The MASA Foundation is one such organization I hope you support. There are also opportunities for it to support you.

The MASA Foundation was started as a way to furnish the MASA building on Como Avenue when it was purchased. Superintendents at the time felt it was important for MASA to set itself apart from other educational organizations by having their own space to meet and conduct the business of leading education in the state of Minnesota. The conference room and other spaces many of us use in that building were initially furnished using funds generated by the Foundation.

After the initial purpose of the foundation was fulfilled, it went dormant for a time. After a few years, it was resurrected with a new purpose of supporting members of the organization. As stated on the MASA website, the mission of the Foundation is to, “enhance the leadership development of educational administrators, to encourage and support individuals interested in careers in teaching or educational administration, to enhance the role and image of educational administrators, and to conduct research and provide information to policymakers and the public at large.” At this time the foundation financially supports the Professional Assistance Team, the Mentor/Mentee program, and offers grants for the professional development of members.

The foundation is run by a Board of Trustees which meets three times each year. The board is made up of current MASA members, both active and retired. Funds are raised through such things as the Fall Golf Tournament, individual member donations, and endowments. The board is exploring additional ways we can meet the mission of the foundation by such things as providing scholarships to individuals from underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing superintendent licensure and providing more professional development.

Most articles about a foundation are asking for money, but an equally important purpose of this one is to encourage members to take advantage of the funds that are available for you. The foundation has not provided a grant to a member for over 3 years. These $500.00 – $750.00 grants are for your professional development and could help offset the cost of attending a national conference or some unique learning experience. To apply you simply need to submit a one-page summary of your intended experience and submit it to the MASA offices or email it to Deb Henton at deb.henton@mnasa.org.

If you would like to make a donation to the Foundation, you may do so by visiting the MASA website and going to the Foundation page. I also encourage you to consider serving on the Board and providing input into areas the Foundation could support in the future.

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