Miami Shores

Fund-raising efforts paying off at Doctors Charter School

The fundraising office at Miami Shores’ Doctors Charter School is on-track to make money for the school this year.

The village of Miami Shores allocated $50,000 this year to support the school’s new development office, and the effort is now expected to generate at least $82,000, for a net gain of $32,000.

So far, the school has raised $35,000 in private donations this year, up from $19,000 at this time last year with only volunteer fund-raisers.

Plans call for raising an additional $27,000 from the seventh annual Golf and Tennis Tournament, set for April 19 at the Miami Shores Country Club and Tennis Center, and another $20,000 from a fundraiser in May, bringing this year’s total to $82,000. Last year’s total was about $39,000.

The village’s $50,000 contribution to the school’s fund-raising effort this year includes $35,000 in salary for Development Director Ellen Bonet plus $15,000 for other fund-raising expenses.

Plans call for the village to make the same contribution next year, but for the development office to be self-supporting thereafter.

Bonet updated the Village Council on her efforts at a meeting Tuesday.

Mayor Jim McCoy said it’s “still a little early” to evaluate the fund-raising efforts, but he is encouraged by the progress thus far.

Doctors Charter School was founded in 2005 through a collaboration of Barry University, Miami Dade Medical Foundation, and the village of Miami Shores. MDMF’s donation was divided into two parts. The first part was used in the founding and construction of the school, which serves grades 6 through 12. The second part is being held by the Village Council as emergency funds.

The $100,000 the school is using to create a Development office is coming from those funds.

Vice-Mayor Hunt Davis said having a fund-raiser on staff is “vital” for the school’s continued success.

The school agreed that it was a good investment to harness the positivity surrounding it. According to the school their graduating classes have a 100 percent college acceptance rate. That’s impressive for any school, let alone one with 53 percent of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches said Bonet.

Bonet is the proud parent of a new alum. Her son graduated last June after a full six years at Doctors, and she has been active in the school’s fundraising since the start. Bonet was formerly the PTA and Booster’s Club president.

McCoy said, “Ellen has shown a willingness to roll up her sleeves in many areas of the village.”

She has not limited her efforts to bake sales and silent auctions. She has actively courted the talents of students’ parents in her work to raise funds through a variety of methods. “We do get a good group of parents from the area,” she said. She has found parents are willing and able to donate time, funds, and talents to keep the school on an upward swing.

“I’ve been able to rally them and lead them, and they have really rose to the challenge and helped me,” Bonet said. The school’s needs include transportation and technology funds. Two fathers are currently working with Bonet to write grants to address each of those needs.

“Everybody sees the potential ,” said Bonet.

Davis agreed.

“I’m very pleased with the progress they’ve made,” he said.

The school’s big fundraising events range from the newly created alumni basketball tournament to the upcoming Golf and Tennis Tournament.

All of the school’s events are sponsored by businesses. “We are very lucky to have those corporate sponsors,” said Bonet. A local firm, 50 State Security, has been a regular sponsor of school events. Chairman and Founder Ted Kretzschmar has grandchildren who attend Doctors.

Bonet’s marketing efforts include a new brochure and updated signage on the Northeast Second Avenue. Additionally, the school will soon be rolling out a new website with dedicated tabs for students, parents, teachers, and alumni that Bonet hopes will be more useful for everyone.

The ultimate goal for Bonet is to have an onsite gymnasium.

“The future is starting to save for that gym. Because I think that is what makes a school complete,” said Bonet. “In high school they want a place to congregate.” And Bonet sees an onsite gymnasium as the perfect place to do that. Plans have already been drawn up and Bonet has begun the work of raising funds for the project.

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