The Friends of Oliver H. Perry School/P.S. 34 group raised $15,000 for the school’s art program at its ninth annual art show last month, but making sure the money is used for the art program is a whole other issue.
Funding earmarked for the Greenpoint school’s art department must go though the PTA. A new PTA board was elected last week, but has yet to go into effect.
Told to remain anonymous for the interview, the new PTA president, who will take over on July 1, assured that all funds raised from the event would go to its respected domain.
“This money is earmarked for our arts program and will go 100 percent to the children for the arts,” she assured. “It goes directly to the arts for the whole school.”
In an effort to solicit as much money as possible for the school’s art department, Friends Group president Jessica Murray said the group is going through the process of incorporating as a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation with tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.
“We are taking that step partly because the school needs it now and the writing is on the wall in terms of the neighborhood,” she explained. “It’s good for the school to just do it now rather than wait.”
Friends group treasurer Roderick Gilman said the group ultimately formed in light of “severe budget cuts” and that obtaining nonprofit status is pivotal and a practical requirement in developing a fundraising group.
“It will practically always be the case in order to attract donors, especially donations in large funds,” Gilman said. “The donors want to be sure to deduct their charitable contribution.”
In the meantime, the new president said she is looking forward to the upcoming year with a lineup of new fundraisers to give back to the rest of the school.
“Hopefully next year will be exciting and we will do some exciting fundraisers, student led, and it will benefit all the students for many programs,” she said.
Murray said the group is already receiving donations from parents of incoming kindergarteners and remains hopeful the next year will be even more successful. She said the Friends Group is now looking at the science department as the next target for generating financial support.
“The principal is bringing in a new science curriculum next year, and we’re going to be having meetings and talking about supporting that,” Murray said. “There’s that huge $19.5 million grant from Exxon, and we’re hoping to capture those funds.”