Mammoth schools reach $1 million in foundation gifts

The Mammoth Unified School District and its Independent Learning Center this season will clear the $1 million mark in donations from the Mammoth Community Foundation and the locally based NOW Foundation, the nonprofits announced jointly this past week.

With an anticipated $300,000 coming into the coffers this season, it has taken just three years to clear the milestone mark.

“Growing the Independent Learning Center into a destination academy-style program within Mammoth High School is a top priority for MMCF,” said Stacy Corless, the executive director of the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation (MMCF).

“At the same time, we continue to fund the margin of excellence at all the schools in the district through our annual donation to NOW Foundation,” she said.

Schools superintendent Lois Klein said she was thrilled with the ongoing gifts.

“With the great support of our community, and especially the MMCF and Now Foundation, our students have advantages that other schools in California are unable to provide,” Klein said in the news release.

“Excellence in Education is a shared goal of this community and of Mammoth Unified School District. Together we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to realize their dreams.”

Shanna Bissonette, the NOW Foundation’s board president, said the donations cover more than just programs for the Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard Team.

She said the donations include funding for such things as art, music, college and career exploration, technology and language.

The NOW Foundation relies largely on dedicated funding from the MMCF, combined with other fundraising.

Much of the MMCF funding comes from Mammoth Mountain’s guests, Corless said.

When skiers and guests stay at Mammoth Mountain lodging or buy a season pass, they have the option to donate a dollar or more to MMCF’s education program. 

This year, more than 50 students are taking advantage of the program by participating in online and in-class learning and scheduling to accommodate athletic training and college coursework.

Moving forward, Corless said, MMCF will continue to provide an annual donation of at least $125,000 to the NOW Foundation, while working directly with the district to fund the ILC program with a contribution of $125,000 or more.

Meanwhile, the MMCF funds educational and athletic programs and facilities for kids in Mammoth. 

In addition to making donations to the Mammoth schools, the foundation funnels grants to other Eastern Sierra schools for local ski physical education programs.