Community Chest Spotlight: Sewanee Elementary School


The 2021-22 Sewanee Community Chest (SCC) Fund Drive is underway. Sponsored by the Sewanee Civic Association, the SCC raises money yearly for local charitable organizations serving the area. This year’s goal of $102,291 will help 20 organizations that have requested basic needs funding for quality of life, community aid, children’s programs, and those who are beyond Sewanee but still serve our entire community.

This week we shine the spotlight on Sewanee Elementary.

Since 1867 there has been a long-standing relationship between the community and the public school. For years this voluntary community commitment maintained the educational system, such as St. Paul’s on the Mountain school and the school on Billy Goat Hill.

When the Sewanee Civitan Club (now the Sewanee Civic Association) was first organized, its objective of good citizenship included “a comprehensive program for the betterment and improvement of every phase of community activity.” (Chitty) This included providing school facilities. At that time, the Franklin County Board of Education agreed to pay the salaries of teachers, but did not provide the buildings. The University at that time was unable to help with the expenses. Funding for a new public school became a community goal. The school building would be on University leasehold land, owned by the Sewanee Civitan Club, and operated by the Franklin County School Board.

Funds were raised in the community and the Sewanee Public School was completed in 1927 through volunteer efforts. In 1933, the community built the Roosevelt Addition. In 1943, more than half of the town’s SCC budget went to maintain the school, and fund programs for enrichment and the purchase of supplies. The county took over the maintenance of the school in 1955 when the building and land were turned over to the county as long as a school remained on that site.

The Sewanee Elementary School (SES) continues to rely on yearly funding from the SCC to meet the school’s needs. This funding commitment “has served the intentional purpose of eliminating the door-to-door fundraising.” (Chitty)

The Sewanee Elementary Parent Organization (SES PO), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, requests and disburses the SCC funds each year for SES. All money received is used for yearly support to the school. The SES PO works with teachers and staff to find solutions to specific educational needs of the school that are not met by the Franklin County School system funding or services.

The SCC is the primary source of revenue for the SES PO’s general operating and project-based support. The SES PO also receives money through annual dues. This year the SES PO will receive $25,000 if the SCC goal is met.

The money raised for the school will go to fund classroom supplies; the library for new books, and material purchases to make the library more reading friendly; enrichment funds for Friday School, Field Day, and TCAP Carnival; place-based learning for more outdoor classroom experiences; the work study University of the South program to pay part-time student classroom helpers; technology purchases; and professional development funds.

Since 1908, the goal of the Sewanee Community Chest has been to help citizens by funding the community. With Community Chest donations, local organizations provide for basic needs such as books, food, recreational spaces, elder care, children’s educational needs and more. The Sewanee Community Chest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and donations are tax-deductible. Send your donation to Sewanee Community Chest, P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375. Go to

http://sewaneecivic.org for more information.

Editor’s Note: For complete information on the history of the public schools, see the “Sewanee Sampler” by Arthur Ben and Elizabeth N. Chitty, 1978.

2021 November
2021 October
2021 September
2021 August
2021 July
2021 June
2021 May
2021 April
2021 March
2021 February
2021 January
2020 December
2020 November
2020 October
2020 September
2020 August
2020 July
2020 June
2020 May
2020 April
2020 March
2020 February
2020 January
2019 December
2019 November
2019 October
2019 September
2019 August
2019 July
2019 June
2019 May
2019 April
2019 March
2019 February
2019 January
2018 December
2018 November
2018 October
2018 September
2018 August
2018 July
2018 June
2018 May
2018 April
2018 March
2018 February
2018 January
2017 December
2017 November
2017 October
2017 September
2017 August
2017 July
2017 June
2017 May
2017 April
2017 March
2017 February
2017 January
2016 December
2016 November
2016 October
2016 September
2016 August
2016 July
2016 June
2016 May
2016 April
2016 March
2016 February
2016 January
2015 December
2015 November
2015 October
2015 September
2015 August
2015 July
2015 June
2015 May
2015 April
2015 March
2015 February
2015 January
2014 December
2014 November
2014 October
2014 September
2014 August
2014 July
2014 June
2014 May
2014 April
2014 March
2014 February
2014 January
2013 December
2013 November
2013 October
2013 September
2013 August
2013 July
2013 June
2013 May
2013 April
2013 March
2013 February
2013 January
2012 December
2012 November
2012 October
2012 September
2012 August
2012 July
2012 June
2012 May
2012 April
2012 March
2012 February
2012 January
2011 December
2011 November
2011 October
2011 September
2011 August
2011 July
2011 June
2011 May
2011 April
2011 March
2011 February
2011 January
2010 December
2010 November
2010 October
2010 September
2010 August
2010 July
2010 June
2010 May