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Growing Minds through Donor Support of Field Trip Scholarships

Published February 22, 2024

As the big yellow school bus approaches Franklin Park Conservatory, the children inside eagerly await their field trip. The bus stops, the doors open, and a flood of excited children come running out, ready to begin an educational and unique day filled with plants and fun.

Field trips provide students with unique opportunities for experiential learning outside the confines of a traditional classroom. Schools and districts limited on funding often cut field trips as one of the first budgetary measures.

This year, Franklin Park Conservatory’s Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign focused its efforts on raising money to provide field trip scholarships to students who attend schools that do not have funds for field trips. 

Giving Tuesday began in 2012 as a worldwide effort to get people involved in philanthropy. For Franklin Park Conservatory, Giving Tuesday represents an opportunity to demonstrate the collective impact of giving and the tangible impact donors can make in their community – through gifts of any size. 

For this day of global philanthropy, the Conservatory set a goal to raise funds for field trip scholarships, ensuring that students who attend schools that do not have funds for field trips can immerse themselves in the natural world. A gift of just $25 covers the costs of field trip admission and transportation to the Conservatory for one student. 

Driven by a collective passion for education and nature, our donors rallied together, acknowledging their vital role. “We surpassed our goal, raising $26,338, enough to provide 1,053 students with a field trip to the Conservatory, which is just heartwarming,” Claudia Lutz, Development Campaign Coordinator, proudly announced. This achievement was a collective effort made possible by the support of 63 donors, including 11 newcomers who chose this day for their inaugural contribution to the organization.

Among the donors, Janet and Charlie Steitz deserve special recognition, as their support and generosity were instrumental in this fundraising effort’s success. “We are incredibly fortunate to have donors like Janet and Charlie, who are deeply engaged with our mission and were willing to support a matching gift to inspire generosity in others,” Lutz added with gratitude.

Field trips bring learning to life for Pre-K through high school students, who enjoy active learning experiences with native and non-native plants, the environment, insects, birds, science and the arts that correlate to Ohio Department of Education Academic Content Standards.

This program captures the pillars of the Conservatory’s mission by educating children about nature, experiencing new places and environments, and engaging with one another and staff in new ways. It’s about aligning the next generation with our vision and encouraging the next generation to value nature as essential to us all.  

“For many students, the field trip is their first exposure to the Conservatory – the awe and excitement on students’ faces as they look up and see tropical plants soaring above their heads or the moment a butterfly lands on their shoulder – the amazement these experiences generate is unforgettable. But most importantly, there are the ‘aha’ moments when they learn about the importance of plants and our ecosystem. They walk away more knowledgeable but also have fun while visiting,” Jenny Pope, Director of Community Outreach and Education, shared. “I will never forget one student leaping into the air, fist-pumping while shouting, ‘Best field trip ever!’  Knowing that you made a difference in a student’s life is any organization’s best goal. Financially supporting the field trips is essential in getting there. We appreciate every contribution that makes this happen beyond measure.”

Giving Tuesday Field Trip program support at Franklin Park Conservatory will provide opportunities, open doors, and enrich lives in 2024. Thanks to the support of donors, Franklin Park Conservatory can continue to inspire and educate future generations, one field trip at a time.

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