The Ascension Fund awards $50,000 in grants to educators

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
From left:  Ascension Fund Board Member Sherrie Despino, Amber Petite, Amanda Martinez, Katelynn Lambert, Allison Krouse, Principal Jeremy Muse, Skylar Harrell, Jennifer Gautreau, Britne' Edmonston, Ashley Balfantz, and Ascension Fund President Sally Diez at Lake Elementary

The Ascension Fund Board, sponsors and volunteers managed to surprise teachers at 18 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 $50,000 in its latest round of competitive grants. A total of 45 Grants were awarded this year including seven (7) School Impact Grants for $2,500 each and 38 Teacher Grants ranging between $500 and $1,000.

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 1,304 grants representing over $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 Sally Diez, Treasurer Brad Walker, Secretary Lisa Dunigan, Michael Buturla, Holly Daigle, Sherrie Despino, Dale Dody, 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, Donald Songy, Craig Walling and Buddy Wells.

Please join us in congratulating our 2019-20 Grant Winners and thanking our Grant Sponsors: Ascension Head Start: Laurel Luecke, $1000 from the Helping Dreams Come True - Leadership Ascension 2018 Endowment; and Stacy Allen, $2500 from the Rubicon Endowment

Bullion Primary: Brandi Bridges, $1000 from the Rotary Club of East Ascension in memory of Sgt. Jay Ryan Gauthreaux Endowment; Jennifer Reames, $1000 from the Ascension Health and Nutrition Alliance Endowment; Teshawn Reed, $1000 from the Turner Industries Endowment Jennifer Jones, $2500 from the BASF Corporation Endowment; Jennifer Jones, $1000 from the Chester, Jr. and Penny Diez in memory of Chester, Sr. and Mildred Diez Endowment; Rachel Pendarvis, $1000 from the Whitney Bank Endowment; and Emily Marchand, $1000 from the Oxy Chemical Endowment

Central Primary: Lana Henry, $1000 from the Buddy & Martha Wells Endowment; and Brandy Morin, $2500 from the AllStar Ford/Lincoln Endowment

Donaldsonville High: Kim Guidry, $500 from the Freeport McMoran Endowment; Tiffinee Rhodus, $500 from the Lion Copolymer Endowment; and Dorothy Thompson, $1000 from the CF Industries Endowment

Duplessis Primary: Angie Altazan, $2500 from the Arthur G. and Ruth B. Scanlan Memorial Endowment and $1000 from the Air Products Endowment

Dutchtown High: Andrea Hughes, $1000 from the Claire Carline Memorial Endowment; and Mandy Perret, $1000 from the Southwest Computer Bureau Endowment

Dutchtown Middle: Brooke Todd, $500 from the Randy J. Braud Memorial Endowment; and Aimee Perrodin, $2500 from the EATELCORP in memory of Mrs. Anona C. Banker Endowment

East Ascension High: Marquee DeLaune, $1000 from the Hughes Insurance Services Endowment

G. W. Carver Primary: Shelby Wilkinson, $500 from the Claude & Carolyn Songy Endowment; and Louisa Palmer, $1000 from the Roy Stern Memorial Endowment

Galvez Primary: Rachel McDowell, $1000 from the BASF Corporation Endowment

Lake Elementary: Skylar Harrell, $1000 from the Philippe Family in memory of Raymond Philippe, Sr., A.S. "Blue" Philippe and David "Wolfie" Philippe Endowment; Jennifer Gautreau, $500 from the Whitney Bank Endowment; Allison Krouse, $1000 from the Viola Philippe in memory of Ed & Virginia Braud, Jr. Endowment; Amber Petite, $1000 from the St. Elizabeth Hospital Endowment; Katelynn Lanmert, $500 from the Pujol, Pryor & Irwin Endowment; Britne' Edmonston, $500 from the Williams-Olefin Endowment; Alshey Balfantz, $1000 from the Regions Bank Endowment; and Amanda Martinez, $1000 from the Ascension ICON Endowment

Lakeside Primary: Amy Crain, $1000 from the Shell Companies Louisiana Endowment; Erin Townsend, $1000 from the Ronald W. Baron Endowment; and Elise Frederic, $500 from the Capital One Endowment

Oak Grove Primary: Lori Clarke, $1000 from the Bill & Pauline Buxton Memorial Endowment; and Ashley Townsend, $1000 from the PotashCorp-Geismar Endowment

Prairieville Primary: Lanie Gueho, $2500 from the Shell Companies Louisiana Endowment; and Kelly Naquin, $500 from the Honeywell, Inc. Endowment

Spanish Lake Primary: Jamie Urban, $500 from the InfiniEdge Software Endowment

St. Amant High: Kristen Feigles, $1000 from the Fritz Englade, Sr. Family Endowment; and Elizabeth Corbit, $500 from the Terra Mississippi Nitrogen Endowment

St. Amant Primary: Julie Stein, $1000 from the Rotary Club of Gonzales in memory of its deceased members Endowment; Valerie Belleu, $2500 from the M. Paul & Janice LeBlanc Memorial Endowment; and Diann Moran, $1000 from the Neese Industries 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