Summit Education Foundation begins its fundraising campaign |

Summit Education Foundation begins its fundraising campaign

SUMMIT COUNTY – About 150 community members turned out Thursday night for the launch of Summit Education Foundation – a new nonprofit that aims to funnel private money toward public schools.

In attendance were Summit community and political leaders, including state Rep. Christine Scanlan, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and Summit Foundation executive director Lee Zimmerman.

Chris Renner, founder and president of the new foundation, said he hopes to collect the first wave of funding toward his $1.2 million goal by June 1. The organization, which was formed only several weeks ago, has already raised $11,000.

Renner said the money is badly needed in a public Colorado school district, since education funding in the state ranks “somewhere between 49th and 50th” among the 50 states.

“Education can no longer be viewed as an entitlement,” Renner said. “Outside investment is now necessary for success.”

Summit Education Foundation aims to follow the example of thousands of communities across the country where parents, businesses, alumni and other community members have banded together to create foundations that supplement tax dollars in funding public schools. Renner said he and his fellow board members will solicit funds from a variety of sources, but that “it all starts with us – the parents.”

Renner has children at Breckenridge Elementary School.

Summit Education Foundation has committed to distributing funds evenly throughout all schools in Summit School District.

“Maintaining equitable funding across all our schools is very important to us,” Renner said.

All funds raised by June 1 will go into the organization’s general fund, which will help pay for basic needs and projects.

“I know many teachers who are spending money out of their own pockets on things like science projects and books,” Renner said.

The foundation will also have separate funds for technology and “teacher excellence” to which donors may direct their contributions. Contributions may be made online at the foundation’s website, Individuals may also make pledges for future donations.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or

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