Carmel Education Foundation: The group you need to know about


By Sophie Pappas

Co-directed by two retired Carmel teachers, Barbara Danquist and Stephanie McDonald, the Carmel Education Foundation is all about the students and teachers of Carmel schools.

In 1966, James and Associates, a company doing the expansion work on Carmel Middle School, wanted to donate $200 to the Carmel Clay schools for scholarships.

The school superintendent, Forrest Stoops, and a teacher, Jim Garretson, worked together with a group of Carmel citizens met create the Carmel Clay Education Foundation, Inc. (CCEF), a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. The original Board of Directors consisted of 21 members of the Carmel community. The first CCEF board president was John Klingensmith.

In 2010, the Carmel Clay Education Foundation adopted a new brand identity, the Carmel Education Foundation.

CEF awarded its first scholarship in 1966. Over time, new scholarships have been added. The first named scholarship was the Elsie George Scholarship, funded by the sale of the red chairs from her classroom. Since then, CEF has awarded over $1.6 million in scholarships through its 40 endowed scholarships and more than 26 annual scholarships funded by individuals and organizations.

The other, lesser-known aspect of the CEF is the teaching grants program. These grants are awarded to teachers and their classrooms every year.

This year, the CEF has handed out more than $12,000 worth of classroom grants, and they are gearing up to award another $22,000 this fall.

Danquist said that these grants are for teachers who “know they need to do something else.”

“The grants go towards a variety of things,” she said. “In their research and work in the classroom teachers come up with something they think would benefit their classes … Sometimes the things they need tend to be a little high budget so that’s where we come in.”

McDonald said that one example of a useful teaching grant was illustrated in the spring when more than 400 children on the free and reduced lunch program were given books to read over the summer break.

“And that program covered three schools,” she said.

Teachers interested in submitting a grant application should contact the foundation at The fall grant deadline is Sept. 8.

For more on CEF’s grants visit

Carmel Clay Schools teachers are encouraged to apply for Carmel Education Foundation grants this fall. Previous grants awarded include items such as:

District Wide Grant – Books for 411 students in Carmel’s three Title 1 schools will be purchased as well as securing more Title 1 funds.

Mohawk Trails Elementary – High-quality pedometers will be purchased for 600 K-5 students for a yearlong Pilot Program called Turtle Trek.

Orchard Park Elementary – Extremely worn gym equipment will be replaced.

Woodbrook Elementary – A “Social Thinking” curriculum will be used for 14 weeks to strengthen students’ social skills and emotional regulation supports.

Creekside Middle – A NASA-designed paper rocket project will be used for 450 eighth-grade science students.


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