News & Events

Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation Grant Supports connect>CF Program

January 2021

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation to support the connect>CF Program. connect>CF provides reduced-cost home internet service to eligible students and families in the Cedar Falls Community School district.

connect>CF, established in 2018, is a collaboration between the district and Cedar Falls Utilities that addresses the homework gap and brings the value of connectivity into households – a need that has only increased due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“We are so appreciative of this support from the Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation to help even the scales among students,” stated Monica Boyer, CFSF Executive Director.

connect>CF is an ongoing effort, sustained by donations from individuals, business, organizations and grants. To learn more about connect>CF, or to donate, click here.

Whitney Middleton Joins Cedar Falls Schools Foundation as Board Member

January 2021

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of new board member, Whitney Middleton. Ms. Middleton is a family law practice lawyer and owner of Whitney Middleton Law PLLC in Cedar Falls. She is a 2008 graduate of Cedar Falls High School and is active in the Cedar Valley Jaycees.

"I am looking forward to giving back to the school district that gave so much to me and was the foundation of my legal career,” stated Whitney.

The Foundation Board of Directors includes community members and district appointments. Since its inception in 2007, contributions from individuals, businesses and grants have helped the CFSF establish scholarships and grants, assist programming and champion teacher professional learning. The CFSF is an Iowa nonprofit corporation for the sole benefit of the Cedar Falls Community School District.

Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa Grant Supports connect>CF Program

December 2020

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) was awarded a Black Hawk County Fall 2020 Grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa (CFNEIA). The $5,625 grant will help provide reduced-cost home internet service to eligible students and families in the Cedar Falls Community School district through the connect>CF program.

connect>CF, established in 2018, is a collaboration between the district and Cedar Falls Utilities that helps even the scales among students by addressing the homework gap and brings the value of connectivity into households.

The need for home internet increased this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. When schools closed in the spring, students and teachers turned to virtual learning to continue instruction. In the fall, over 900 students enrolled in the district’s virtual campus option. Even students whose families elected in-person learning have had online instruction throughout the year due to building closures or quarantine guidelines.

“Thanks to generous gifts from individuals, businesses and organizations, as well as grants like this one from the CFNEIA, we’re able to continue supporting this program, but ongoing support is crucial,” stated Monica Boyer, CFSF Executive Director. To learn more about connect>CF, or to donate, click here.

Cedar Falls Schools Foundation Awards Classroom Excellence Grants

November 2020

Cedar Falls Schools Foundation awards Classroom Excellence Grants each year to Cedar Falls Community School (CFCS) District staff for innovative projects. These projects carry out the Foundation's mission of enhancing excellence in education by helping teachers create learning experiences for students above and beyond typical classroom activities.

Thanks to many generous donors, 14 Classroom Excellence Grants, totaling nearly $12,000, were awarded in November. Five of the fourteen were named grants — one given in honor of the Class of 1970, and four in memory of:

  • Pat Lyman, former Lincoln Elementary volunteer
  • Robert L. Savereide, former counselor at Peet Junior High
  • Jim & Karen Bolger, Karen was a P.E. teacher at Peet Junior High
  • Dick Nystuen, former school administrator

Click here to read about all the projects supported this year.

Class of 1970 Celebrates 50th Class Reunion with Gift to Cedar Falls Schools Foundation

September 2020

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Five years ago, a group from the Cedar Falls High School Class of 1970 came together to discuss ways to celebrate their 50th High School Reunion. They wanted to “pay it forward,” so set to work to solicit funds from classmates for the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation. They set a goal for their class of $50,000.

From the combined contributions from over 100 Class of 1970 alumni, they have now exceeded that goal. $25,000 will be donated to the new High School building project – a room will be named after the Class of 1970. The remaining funds will be added to the Foundation’s Classroom Excellence Grants Endowed Fund. Classroom Excellence Grants are available to all Cedar Falls Community Schools District staff each fall, and support the purchases of learning materials and opportunities for students outside of the district’s budget. Because of their contribution, a “Class of 1970 Excellence Grant” will be awarded each year.

Thank you Class of 1970 for showing your pride and enthusiasm for Cedar Falls Community Schools. We are honored to have you as a partner in our mission to support our students, staff and community. You have proved there is great truth to ‘once a tiger, always a tiger’

Pictured (L to R): Dave Deaver, Bruce Sorensen, Celia Simmer and Jessie Sorensen, Cedar Falls High School Class of 1970 representatives, present a check for $53,775 to Dr. Andy Pattee, Cedar Falls Community Schools Superintendent, at the site of the new high school.

Cedar Falls Schools Foundation Announces Five New Board Members, Celebrates Two Board Retirees

August 2020

The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of five new Board Members – Dr. Alan Heisterkamp, Tom Blanford, Chris Gehling, Jessie Sorensen and Amanda Stack. Dr. Heisterkamp is the Director of the Center for Violence Prevention and the MVP Leadership Institute at the University of Northern Iowa. He is filling the school board member seat on the Foundation board. Mr. Blanford is the Vice President of Corporate Investment at Collins Community Credit Union. He is a 2009 graduate of Cedar Falls High School (CFHS). Mr. Gehling is a CPA and Partner at BerganKDV and has children in the district. Mrs. Sorensen was the office manager at Sam Annis and Company/Metro Fuel Inc, retiring in 2017. She is a 1970 graduate of CFHS. Her son is also a CFHS graduate and she now has grandchildren in the district. Mrs. Stack is the Operations Manager and Legal Assistant at Trent Law Firm, PLLC and has a child in the district. Mr. Blanford, Mr. Gehling, Mrs. Sorensen and Mrs. Stack are filling community member seats on the Foundation board.

The Foundation would also like to celebrate two retiring board members. Alan Bernard served as treasurer and finance committee chair and Jennifer Onuigbo served as secretary and as a marketing and promotions committee member. Mr. Bernard has served on the board since 2011 and Mrs. Onuigbo since 2014. Monica Boyer, Executive Director, commented, “Al and Jennifer’s guidance and expertise has been of the utmost value to our organization. On behalf of the board of directors, I thank them for their contributions to the success of the foundation.”

The Foundation Board of Directors includes community members and district appointments. Current standing community board members include: Dave Deaver, John Jorgensen, Tanner Marshall, Tracy Mudd, Helen Pearce, Vickie Robinson, John Runchey and Jim Sprau. The appointed district board members include: Katie Johnston, Eric Rosburg, Jeremy Swanson and Megann Tresemer. Ex-officio members are Dr. Andy Pattee, CFCS District Superintendent and Denelle Gonnerman, CFCS CFO.

“We’re honored to have the guidance and vision of all our board members. CFSF Board Members are volunteers who give their time, talents and treasure to support every student, every day,” stated Boyer. 

Christensen Funds Makerspace Items

June 2020

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In 2002, Elna Christensen left a legacy to “perpetuate quality of life in her hometown.” The Elna Christensen Memorial Fund, established in memory of her parents, Nels and Kirstine Christensen, was a $1,370,000 endowed gift to the district.

The fund is now held with the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation. During the 2019-2020 school year, the district used $28,559.67 from the fund to purchase Makerspace items. Makerspaces are a collaborative lab and studio space where students can create, think, share and grow using an assortment of materials and technologies. Makerspaces are open to all students, and are a fun way for them to explore self-guided learning.

Brian Unruh, Associate Director of Instructional Technology at Cedar Falls Community Schools commented, “We used these funds to support the six Maker Challenges we did throughout the school year. Challenges included:

  • Musical Instrument Challenge in October

  • Pumpkin Catapults Challenge in November
  • Holiday Lights Display Challenge in December for secondary students only
  • Snow Plow Challenge in January
  • Spread Joy Challenge in February and March
  • Fashion Challenge in April and May

We were able to purchase materials and equipment for each building. Materials included items such as paper, aluminum foil, LED lights, cups and tape. Equipment included items such as Edison robots, hot glue guns, Makey Makey’s and Little Bits. We are so thankful to provide these resources to our students and look to build on what we were able to provide this past year. The feedback from these Maker Challenges has been so positive from teachers, students and parents.”

The Christensen legacy continues in Cedar Falls through this endowed fund providing extra opportunities to staff and students in the district.

To learn more about leaving your own legacy through Cedar Falls Schools Foundation, please contact Monica Boyer, Executive Director, at (319) 268-7007 or

Celebrating Seniors Futures with Scholarships

May 2020

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation awarded 12 scholarships to 2020 graduating seniors. Thank you to our many donors and their families for making these gifts possible. Scholarship recipients were announced on Sunday, May 24 during the televised Honors Convocation. A recording of the event is available to watch online. 

This fall, 21 new and renewed scholarships will be given to CFCS graduates for post-secondary education. To read more about our scholarships and this year’s recipients, click here.

Congratulations to these outstanding seniors!

Jennifer Zehner Awarded John Nero Memorial Grant for Continuing Education

May 2020

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The John Nero Memorial Grant was established after his passing in 2011, for first and second year teachers. A longtime Cedar Falls High School teacher and guidance counselor, John had a desire to assist new teachers as they embarked on their first or second year of teaching. New teachers may be eligible for a grant from this fund, to be used for tuition and/or materials for graduate studies.

A John Nero Memorial Grant in the amount of $200 has been awarded this year to Jennifer Zehner, Cedar Falls High School. Jennifer is pursuing her Master’s in Special Education and will be using the grant to help pay for her Summer 2020 courses: “Language Development and Communication Disorders,” “Behavior Disorders: Theory and Methods,” and “Learning Disabilities: Theory and Methods.”

“Come August, the skills and knowledge I am gaining through this program will become key tools in my instruction. This will help me be of the most benefit to all of my students in helping them achieve their goals and set new goals throughout the academic year,” said Jennifer.

Congratulations Jennifer and best of luck to you as you continue your education!

Double Your Gift!

April 2020

Image titleGreenState Credit Union members have the opportunity to match gifts to the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation through May 15 through their Give & Grow program.

Donations may be submitted through GreenState's website. GreenState will send both your gift and the matching gift to our Foundation in May.

Thank you GreenState Credit Union for supporting our students again this year!

POSTPONED: Future of Education Breakfast

March 2020

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we will be postponing the Future of Education Breakfast, originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 1 at Beaver Hills. Rescheduled date is to be determined.

Vande Kieft Memorial Fund Supports the connect>CF Program

February 2020

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Dick and Judy Vande Kieft passed away in November 2018. Dick served on the Cedar Falls School Board for 31 yearsas president and vice president for nine of those years. Their family specified that memorials be sent to the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation.

Receiving over 30 donations, the Dick and Judy Vande Kieft Memorial Fund grew to $2,405. Recently, their son, Jason Vande Kieft, decided how the funds will be used within the district. “We feel they would want the fund to support programs that most directly impact student success, especially if those students are disadvantaged. Students need home connectivity for homework, planning and teacher communication. We'd be pleased to see the memorial fund support the connect>CF initiative,” said Jason.

connect>CF is a collaboration between the district and Cedar Falls Utilities to provide reduced-cost home internet service to eligible Cedar Falls Schools students in grades 7-12.

On February 7, Monica Boyer, Cedar Falls Schools Foundation Executive Director, presented a check to Lindsay Spears, Cedar Falls High School Associate Principal, for the connect>CF program.

Thank you Vande Kieft family for choosing to honor Dick and Judy’s legacy in this way. Click here to learn more about connect>CF.

Senior Scholarship Applications Now Available!

February 2020

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) is pleased to announce 10 different scholarships available in 2020 to Cedar Falls High School graduates. Scholarships are made possible by generous donors to CFSF. All applications will be reviewed by a scholarship selection committee at Cedar Falls High School, and will be awarded at the Honors Convocation Ceremony in May.

Click here to see a full listing and to apply. The deadline for 2020 scholarships is April 15, 2020.

We Asked, You Responded: Tradition of Excellence Annual Campaign Update 

February 2020

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A tremendous thank you to our many generous donors that have contributed to this year's Tradition of Excellence giving campaign. In the first two months, we have received donations totaling over 90% of our $20,000 goal!

To contribute to innovation and excellence throughout the Cedar Falls School District, please click here.

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