Chatham Education Foundation (CEF) was established in 2002 with the help of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Along with the creation of CEF, the organization established its first fund, CEF’s Fund for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. This fund was created to introduce and engage students in new, creative and innovative projects in the arts and humanities. It is specifically dedicated to supporting projects in the creative realm.

CEF’s Fund for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities brings exceptional educational opportunities to all students of the Chatham Central School District. The Fund supports Chatham teachers and staff in providing enrichment projects in the arts, music, history, literature, character education, culture, media and more. It provides grants for visiting artists, performances, workshops, field trips, special projects, special materials and supplies, and teacher professional development. These are programs that are above and beyond the core programs supported by state and local funds.

The Alexander M. White Fund was established in 2003 in remembrance of Sandy White, Old Chatham resident and former Chatham School Board President, who provided leadership in the district and in the creation of the Foundation. The Alexander M. White Fund supports innovative projects across all disciplines including math, the sciences, technology, history, engineering, arts, humanities and more.

In 2008, the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation generously donated $100,000 to the endowment of the Chatham Education Foundation. The gift required a $50,000 matching grant from the community. The Chatham community, with the support of individuals and businesses, successfully raised that amount. In May of 2013, the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation gifted another $50,000 to the Foundation to celebrate and honor the 90th birthday of Mr. Kelly. The Chatham community continues to be overwhelmed by the generosity of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. This Fund offers a stepping stone to expand the hearts and minds of all Chatham students.

     In Memoriam – Ellsworth Kelly (1924-2015)

     The Chatham School District was the first recipient in late 2002 of Ellsworth Kelly’s Foundation grants designed to enrich in wonderful and imaginative ways the education of Columbia County public school students. These grants bring into the schools artists, scholars and talented community members who offer learning experiences, primarily in the arts and humanities, that are not funded by tax dollars.

The great generosity and dedication to expanding the vision and experience of Chatham’s…and then of all of Columbia County’s…students of Ellsworth Kelly, as well as of Jack Shear who spear-headed the project in all of the county’s school districts will prove to be of on-going and significant meaning to all our county’s children.

Both the Alexander M. White Fund and the Fund for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities are endowment funds which will allow for earnings to be distributed in grants on a yearly basis while ensuring that the funds grow in perpetuity. Teachers, community members, artists, educators and cultural and educational institutions are invited to apply for funding for grant projects that support the goals of each fund. Applicants not affiliated with the District are required to obtain a sign off on the grant application with a representative of the school in which the project is proposed. Please see the Grants section for the link to which you can apply for funding to carry out an educational project within the Chatham Central School District.

The assets of the Fund are managed by Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization located in Sheffield, MA. The funds are in place solely to enhance the educational experience of the school district’s students.