HISTORY of the BULLDOG FOUNDATION
The Bulldog Foundation began as the Big Spring School District Educational Foundation in 1994. At that time a group of individuals involved in various facets of education saw the need for a foundation that would support public education in the Big Spring School District. In December 1994 the Foundation was formally established by the founding members: Ann Boncal, Jeff Cohick, Vonny Eckman, Ron Grosso, Linda Harrison, Carol Kuntz, Ron Sheppard, and Richard Webber.
The Foundation was established as a non-profit corporation in order to provide a mechanism for the receipt of gifts in support of educational pursuits in the Big Spring School District. From the beginning, the Foundation was governed by an independent board of directors comprising business and community leaders. The mission statement drafted by the board of directors reflects the Foundations’ intentions by further defining that the assets secured by the foundation be “…distributed for the benefits of Big Spring School District students in order to enhance the overall quality of education as well as to promote community support for public education.”
The foundation received its inaugural funding through contributions made in memory of Linda G. Harrison (1950-1994), founding member and district teacher, who passed away days after the Foundation’s creation. These contributions totaled $2,530.00.
From the onset, the Foundation had lofty goals, the realization of which was challenging. Though donations continued to grow, the Big Spring community at large was slow to recognize the benefits of having an educational foundation and equally slow to contribute financial support. True to the theme, the board had to educate the public on the merits of an educational foundation. They did this by working with local news media, assisting with community and school related efforts and events, and recognizing those who made contributions.
In 1999, the Foundation expanded its scope dramatically. The annual Foundation Golf Tournament was established and continues to be the largest fundraiser hosted by the Foundation. Thanks to the growth in financial resources, that same year the Foundation initiated a grant program for educational staff in the district to enhance the academic, vocational and athletic programs. At the same time, a student scholarship program was begun to assist graduating seniors pursing post-secondary training.
In 2004, the foundation incorporated the Husler-Potter group in the Foundation organization to more effectively manage funds and by mutually supporting each group’s activities. The following year, the Foundation created a scholarship for retired superintendent Dr. William Cowden who served the Big Spring School District and community for many years.
In 2008, several long time board members left the Foundation after many years of dedicated service. As new board members were appointed, the Foundation not only reorganized but formally changed its name the Bulldog Foundation.
In 2009, the annual Hall of Fame Recognition Dinner was established to honor Big Spring graduates for outstanding accomplishments in their profession, community or charitable organizations. Like the annual Golf Tournament, this event not only raises funds but also continues to educate the public about the work of the Foundation and of the quality individuals produced thanks to a Big Spring education.
Over the years, the Foundation has grown and succeeded in its mission in large part to the generous volunteers who have served on the board of directors: Bill Beck, Ann Boncal, Ann Eckman, Ian Eckman, Vonny Eckman, Ron Grosso, Bill Harrison, Linda Harrison, Lisa Harrison, Susan Hartman, Carol Kuntz, Maria Lezzer, Matt Madden, Caroline Potter, John Rhodes, Ron Sheppard and Gary Swartz.