The Ascension Fund awards $48,500 in grants to educators for the 2018-2019 school year

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
From left: Ascension Fund Board President Michael Buturla, Beth Athens, Raven Johnson and Natasha Sheldon.

The Ascension Fund Board, sponsors and volunteers managed to surprise teachers at 19 schools across Ascension Parish with the news that they have received grant funds to support innovative and creative methods of learning for our students. The Ascension Fund, a non-profit organization, awarded a total of $48,500 in its latest round of competitive grants.

A total of 39 Grants were awarded this year including eight (8) School Impact Grants for $2,500 each and 31 Teacher Grants ranging between $500 and $1,000.

“Our teachers have incredibly creative ideas on how to enhance learning and let’s face it, and most will reach into their own pockets to make it happen. The Ascension Fund provides the extra resources to reward such forward thinking,” said Michael Buturla, Ascension Fund President.

The Ascension Fund was established in 1991 as a project of the Rotary Club of Gonzales. Original pledges of $800,000 for the creation of The Ascension Fund were placed in an endowment, the income from which now funds the grants. The Fund provided its first grant in 1992, and since that time has given 1,259 grants representing $1.5 million in awards to area public schools and teachers. The Ascension Fund is guided by a board of directors and the invested funds are overseen by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Serving on the Board of Directors are President Michael Buturla, Vice President Sally Diez, Treasurer Brad Walker, Secretary Lisa Dunigan, Sherrie Despino, Malcolm Dugas, Jr., Alsie Dunbar, Fritz Englade, Sr., Sonny Graugnard, Amy Hathorn-Lambert, Kevin Hardy, Bret Hughes, Juanita Pearley, Cherron Philippe, Timothy Pujol, Paulette Rosamond, Beryl Smith, Donald Songy, Craig Walling and Buddy Wells.

Please join us in congratulating our 2018-2019 Grant Winners and thanking our Grant Sponsors:

Ascension Head Start: Shelby Cavalier , $ 2500 from the Shell Endowment

Central Middle: Vanessa West, $2,500 from the AllStar Ford/Lincoln Endowment

Donaldsonville High: Kristin Maum, $1,000 from the Bill and Pauline Buxton Memorial Endowment

Donaldsonville Primary: Natasha Sheldon, $1,000 from the Capital One Bank Endowment; Raven Johnson, $1,000 from the Helping Dreams Come True, Class of 2032-Leadership Ascension 2018 Endowment; and Beth Athens, $1,000 from the Freeport-McMoran Foundation Endowment

Duplessis Primary: Amanda Bullman, $1,000 from the Chester, Jr. and Penny Diez in memory of Chester, Sr. and Mildred Diez Endowment

Dutchtown High: Mandy Perret, $1,000 from the Claire Carline Memorial Endowment

East Ascension High: Deborah Ellis, $1,000 from the Randy J. Braud Memorial Endowment

Galvez Middle: Carla Babin, $1,000 from the Ascension Health & Nutrition Alliance Endowment; and Linda Wilson, $500 from the Honeywell, Inc. Endowment

Gonzales Primary: Chasity Carr, $1,000 from the Claude & Carolyn Songy Endowment; Carlie Lambert, $1,000 from the Roy Stern Memorial Endowment; Lindsey Keller, $2,500 from the EATELCORP in memory of Mrs. Anona C. Banker Endowment; and Phaedra Early, $1,000 from the Gonzales Rotary in memory of its’ deceased members Endowment

Lake Elementary: Allison Krause, $1,000 from the Lion Copolymer Endowment; Stephanie St. Pierre, $500 from the Neese Industries Endowment; Jennifer Gautreau, $500 from the Air Products Endowment; Katelyn Lambert, $1,000 from the Oxy Chemical Endowment; Bonnie Dempster, $1,000 from the Philippe Family in memory of Raymond Philippe, Sr., A.S. “Blue” Philippe and David “Wolfie” Philippe; Stacy Dufour, $1,000 from the Ronald W. Baron Family Endowment; Jacie Dunbar, $1,000 from the Southwest Computers Endowment; and Lori Vanmoer, $1,000 from the Viola Philippe in memory of Ed & Virginia Braud Endowment

Lakeside Primary: Jason Naquin, $2,500 from the M. Paul and Janice LeBlanc Memorial Endowment

Oak Grove Primary: Ashley Townsend, $2,500 from the Rubicon Endowment and $1,000 from the St. Elizabeth Hospital Endowment

Pecan Grove Primary: Elise Tureau, $500 from the Turner Industries Endowment; and Melissa Cole, $1,000 from the Whitney Bank Endowment

Prairieville Middle: Sharlena Armand, $2,500 from the PotashCorp-Geismar Endowment

Prairieville Primary: Tammy Ballow, $500 from the William Olefin Endowment; Kris Ratcliff, $1,000 from the Buddy & Martha Wells Endowment; Lanie Gueho, $1,000 from the Rotary Club of East Ascension in memory of Sgt. Jay Ryan Gauthreaux Endowment; and Laurie Ricard, $2,500 from the BASF Corporation Endowment

Sorrento Primary: Briggette Dunn, $1,000 from the CF Industries Endowment

St. Amant High: $1,000 from the Fritz Englade, Sr. Family Endowment

St. Amant Primary: Lisa Babin, $1,000 from the Pujol, Pryor & Irwin Endowment; and Elizabeth Richard, $2,500 from the Arthur G. and Ruth B. Scanlan Memorial Endowment

For more information about our grant program or to donate to The Ascension Fund visit or call 225-290-3322.

Contributed by The Ascension Fund