New fund established at Marshfield Area Community Foundation
Announcing the Bokern Academic Leadership Fund under the Marshfield Education Foundation
By Amber Leifheit
Marshfield Area Community Foundation Executive Director
Jim and Emily Bokern have invested in the future of the School District of Marshfield, its students, and, by doing so, the community. They have come forward to make a very significant donation to the Marshfield Education Foundation and established the Bokern Academic Leadership Fund.
The School District of Marshfield voted in June of 2015 to establish the Marshfield Education Foundation. This foundation is not a new idea but rather one that has been talked about for about 10 years. Earlier boards of education had talked about establishing an education foundation but never made the leap to do so.
The first fund under this umbrella was established by Carol Phillips’ family in her memory in 2010 in hopes that a foundation would come to be. Phillips served on the Marshfield School Board for 21 years and was a strong advocate of education and the Marshfield School District. This fund will be used to further the vision of the education foundation.
Jim and Emily’s contribution will be a turning point. Never has the Marshfield Area Community Foundation (MACF) received this large of a contribution to establish an endowed fund.
At MACF we set up funds for the purpose the fund holder wishes, within the rules established by the IRS and MACF, to benefit a nonprofit. The Bokern Academic Leadership Fund is a legacy gift. It will be funded upon the Bokerns’ death. At that time the principal will be invested and the earnings spent each year with oversight from the awards committee, the School District of Marshfield, and MACF. This will allow for this legacy gift to keep on giving forever.
Jim taught for 27 years in the Marshfield School District. Emily is a kindergarten teacher in Antigo. They both value education and want to ensure that Marshfield continues its tradition of excellence. Jim retired from his teaching position this year, but before he retired he wanted to give even more to the district he taught in and loved. He taught Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History, U.S. History, U.S. Government, Comparative Government, and Criminal Justice. He was a brilliant teacher, and he recognized that a good school needs great teachers to achieve excellence.
In establishing this fund at MACF, his goal was to sustain and grow the legacy of educational leadership and academic excellence at Marshfield public schools. Currently, Marshfield Public School District has a strong tradition as an academic leader in various programs, including AP, FFA, and several science competitions.
What distinguishes these from other fine programs at Marshfield public schools is their leadership role among academic peers in the region, state of Wisconsin, and the nation. Additionally, their results are quantified through data and validated by students’ enthusiasm for their achievements.
A committee will meet annually to make recommendations for awards. Awards will be given for strong instructional excellence that distinguishes Marshfield as a leader, targeted professional development crucial to improve instruction, or scholarships to empower teachers and/or students to excel in instructional leadership/achievement.
Thank you, Jim and Emily Bokern, for having this vision.