Mt. Vernon Education Foundation hires new leader

FORTVILLE — Renee Oldham helped raise money to build an innovation center that houses small businesses in Richmond. She’s helped guide the city’s downtown redevelopment and written countless grant applications.

Now, she’s taking on a new challenge: leading Mt. Vernon’s Education Foundation into its next chapter.

Oldham, a lifelong Wayne County resident who recently moved to McCordsville, was hired this month as the new director of the Mt. Vernon Education Foundation, a nonprofit that raises grant dollars to be used in Mt. Vernon classrooms. She replaces Andrea Yovanovich, who left the job earlier this year.

The part-time position is funded by the education foundation, a nonprofit, but Oldham will work closely with school administrators in her effort to enrich student learning across the district.

The foundation, which was started by volunteers 10 years ago, raises and provides funding to teachers for programs aimed at enhancing student experiences, especially in the classroom.

School and foundation officials said they are excited about Oldham’s arrival and hope she helps strengthen the foundation. They have moved her office from inside Mt. Vernon High School to the administration center so she can work more closely with all school leaders to bolster the partnership between the foundation and the school district, according to a news release from the district.

Oldham has an immediate goal to launch a tour across the district to meet community members and spread the foundation’s message. Overtime, she’d like to help increase the foundation’s roughly $135,000 endowment.

She also wants the foundation to improve how it alerts community members to what the foundation does and the impact the organization has on student lives.

“I am a huge believer in education and hope to create additional learning experiences that develop a passion for lifelong learning for students,” she said.

Oldham has worked with nonprofits for much of her career. She has experience in fundraising and drafting grant applications, skills foundation board members hope will help her locally.

Susan Boyles, who has been on the education foundation board since 2014, said she hopes Oldham will help the group improve its annual donation campaign and other various fundraisers to collect more money to fund school efforts.

“All of her experience is going to help us grow our organization to help the schools,” Boyles said. “I think she’ll do a great job.”

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.