WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GRE FOUNDATION
The GRE Foundation Board is composed of 12 GREA members. The 18 GREA areas are grouped into 3 areas, so that there 6 groups with 2 GRE Foundation members from each set of three to represent that area on the GREF Board. Over the years anyone who was interested could be a board member, but the Board has worked to get equal representation from all six groups of areas. That is now the case. Members of the Board pay all their own expenses, so that all money (with the exception of bank expenses) received goes toward scholarships.
In the beginning the purpose of GREF was to publish and provide the ARE YOU READY booklets that were made available to all teachers nearing retirement. These were edited and reprinted several times until TRS began sharing the same information.
Presently the goal of GREF is to provide scholarships to active educators in Georgia. The first year one $500 scholarship was presented. The number increased over the years until there were 18 $750 scholarships. This money was coming from local REA units, interest from the GREF investment, and individuals who fully funded a scholarship. After most local units stopped making donations, it was necessary to reduce the number of scholarships to ten at $750. After a year or two the number was changed to ten at $1000 each. The $650 from the local units, the proceeds from the silent auction, private donations, and interest from GREF funded these scholarships.
It is never too late for local REA’s to donate to the scholarship fund. It is one way to honor our profession and encourage new teachers. Money can be donated in Memory/Honor of someone, and it is tax deductible. The donations go to GRE Foundation, Dr. William Gardner, 11 Springer Way, Rocky Face, GA 30740. Include your name and address, local unit, and the name and address of the person being honored or remembered so that cards can be sent.
The official name, as voted on by the membership in 1986, was the Georgia Retired Teachers Association Foundation, INC. The first meeting of the Foundation Board was September 9, 1986 at the Macon Hilton. In order to match GREA’s name change, the Board of Directors and the GREA Executive Director, in 2005-2006, applied the Georgia Secretary of State to change the Foundation’s name to Georgia Retired Educators Foundation, INC. This was completed May 1, 2006.
The first scholarship was given in 2002. Since then over 100 scholarships worth more than $110,000 have been presented.
Each year, the applications represent the hardships teachers are facing as they try to balance home and family life with going back to college for an additional field or an advanced degree. One is amazed at how much tuition has increased and how much every penny toward cost reduction is appreciated.
There are no dues to become a member of the GRE Foundation. All GREA members are deemed Honorary members of GREF.
Some educators often consider their colleagues to be extended family. Some wish to honor their colleagues with a financial gift. Edith L. Pierce of Forsyth County, Georgia, was such a teacher. She was the first Georgia Retired Educator to designate a gift to the GRE Foundation that would be used to help fund scholar-ships. Her gift of more that $40,000 made it possible for the struggling GREF to begin amassing a trust fund. Scholarships could be given without eroding the cash flow of GREF. Since then, another legacy gift has been started and each year a scholarship is presented in the memory of each.