Like most nonprofit organizations, the IPS Education Foundation’s success is partly due to the strength of its board members. We took some time with Board President Scott Grotjan to talk about what inspires him about IPSEF and his role on the board.
Grotjan has been on IPSEF’s board for 20 months. As president, he says his role is to be the leader of the board, but also to be the cheerleader for what the organization can do and encourage everyone to come together to accomplish the Foundation’s goals. He speaks passionately about the work of IPSEF and how it allows the organization to impact children’s lives.
“In today’s economy school funding continues to decrease. Who makes up that shortfall? It comes from organizations like the IPSEF. We’re funding things in the district that are not in budget,” he says.
Grotjan moved to Indianapolis in 1998 and says that while he is not a native, the city is home. Investing in IPS is part of taking care of his adopted hometown. His wife is an IPS educator, and while they live outside of the district, they demonstrate their commitment to the good work happening in IPS by choosing to send the two children in their home to IPS schools.
“What interests me about IPSEF is really that IPS, in my mind, is the heart of our city. The children in IPS today are tomorrow’s community leaders. I believe we all have a duty and obligation to share our treasures and talents and give back by doing that,” he says.
Grotjan also speaks passionately about changing the conversation in the city about IPS. Because of his involvement, Grotjan is devoted to highlighting the positive things happening in the district that many people don’t see.
“When you look at what the teachers are doing, the children, it’s really incredible,” he says. “Everybody in our community should walk into a local school in IPS and just look around. Experience the environment. I was recently at school 56, which is probably 100 years old. It has a rich history. I was thinking about all the children’s lives that have passed through that building. What are they doing now? How are their lives? I encourage people to go into school yourself, see what you see and then form your opinion.”
Grotjan is most passionate about the moneys the Foundation is directing into IPS classrooms. Last school year, the Foundation funded $70,000 through DonorsChoose. The Foundation does a dollar-for-dollar match with the help of donors. They also recently voted to put $50,000 on DonorsChoose for a grand total of $85,000 this school year. These dollars go straight into the classrooms, but board members and the Foundation can’t meet their goals alone.
“Whatever it is that someone is willing to share fits. $20 fits. $200 fits. $2,000 fits,” he says.
Scott Grotjan is a cost reduction specialist with KSM Profit Advisors, LLC, where he provides a wide range of cost reduction and profit improvement solutions. He has nearly 20 years of industry experience, including roles in operations, sales and human resources. Scott volunteers at Northview Christian Life Church in Carmel.