For 20 years, FEEF has provided the chance for Fairhope children to go beyond the basics in education.
At FEEF, we envision a community that empowers every child to discover and create a better world.
Our mission is to promote and enrich educational opportunities for all Fairhope public school children. We’re guided by the principle that every child has the right to an excellent education and an investment in Fairhope schools is an investment in your community.
FEEF has a long and solid history of creating a rich learning environment for Fairhope public school students. In January 1996, a group of Fairhope parents and educators responded to a request from a local school principal to explore the possibility of building a marine science lab on the site of the Fairhope K-1 Center in downtown Fairhope. Community members quickly saw the benefit of creating not only the science lab but also a non-profit public school foundation to promote and enrich educational opportunities for all Fairhope public school students. Just three months later, in March 1996, the federal government recognized the Fairhope Educational Enrichment Foundation (FEEF) as exempt under section 501(c) (03).
Organization volunteers wasted no time in realizing their vision. The Foundation’s signature project, the award winning Pelican’s Nest Science Lab, opened in 1997 under the direction of Charlene Dindo. In 2002, Dindo was just one of 11 teachers nationally, and the first from Alabama, to receive an Albert Einstein Fellowship. Though the K-1 Center closed in 2011, the lab is open and continues to provide environmental education to elementary students countywide operating under the direction of Fairhope Elementary teacher Kacie Hardman.
In December 2001, the Community Foundation of South Alabama selected FEEF for a Kresge Challenge Grant. Over the next three years, board members, business leaders, parents, and teachers raised $750,000 for an endowment. The Kresge Foundation awarded an additional $250,000 in July 2004. Annual dividends from the endowment are allocated to FEEF’s operating expenses and ensure sustainability for the Foundation.
In addition to the two projects described above, with ongoing support from the community, the Foundation contributed $250,000 to the construction of a black box theatre at Fairhope High School and has awarded Fairhope schools more than $800,000 in grants for science, technology, reading, math, art, and music. Additional projects include funding free tutoring for more than 175 at-risk students in grades K-8 yearly, and providing professional development for Fairhope teachers.
A colorful mural in downtown Fairhope celebrates FEEF and its contributions to public education in Fairhope. A seahorse sculpture and plaque on the bluff overlooking Mobile Bay recognize the donors who have made significant contributions to FEEF and our schools. Both of these creations were made possible through a development grant to be used solely for promotion of FEEF and its generous donors. Artist Ameríca Jones recently restored the mural through a collaborative enrichment program with FEEF and Fairhope High School art students.
Currently, FEEF has two staff members and a 21 member all volunteer board of directors. As FEEF’s founders did 20 years ago, board members passionately believe strong schools reflect a strong community. Directors give generously of their time and money to support the foundation. Additionally, 50 members of the community serve as “Friends of FEEF” on the organization’s Advisory Council and dozens of volunteers serve on FEEF’s two signature fundraisers annually, Phantasy of the Arts in the fall and the Annual Mayor’s Golf Tournament in the spring.