The Gunnison Valley Education Foundation has its origins in Kids Kount, a community-based initiative established in 2003 which addressed state legislation (TABOR) requiring school districts in Colorado to replenish reserve funds.  This resulted in severe financial reductions to instructional programs. Kids Kount successfully raised funds to enrich education for students and teachers in Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District.

With guidance from the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley, Kids Kount initially stepped forward to raise funds for several specific projects that were important to the Gunnison Watershed School District.  These included the automation of the district library system, satellite phones for district school buses, Gunnison Middle School Pavilion in Mustang Park, Celebrate the Beat programs, and small grants to individual schools and teachers for special projects.

Since its inception, Kids Kount generated nearly $96,000 in supplemental funds to support enrichment opportunities for students throughout the school district. In addition, Kids Kount inaugurated an endowment to ensure a sustainable source of funding. To date, more than $115,000 has been raised for this purpose.

Beginning in 2011, founding members of Kids Kount turned their attention to strengthening and expanding community leadership and formulating a long-term strategic plan to ensure supplemental funds that supported high quality education for all students in the Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District. This important work resulted in clear direction for the future, a revitalized board of directors, and a significant name change – E3 Foundation (Education Enrichment for Everyone).

By the close of 2012, the E3 Education Foundation had secured a major gift of $25,000 to inaugurate the Teacher Innovation Grant Program to begin in the 2013-2014 academic year. Since then, teachers have submitted many quality mini-grant proposals and funds have been awarded to purchase keyboards for music programs, text-to-speech technology for students with disabilities, production materials for musical performances, cross-curricular public art projects, and significant enhancements to budding programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM).

At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, in an effort to communicate the function of the organization more effectively to the public, another name change was needed.  Now known as the Gunnison Valley Education Foundation (GVEF), this organization continues with enthusiasm and dedication to enrich the education of students in the valley.  The GVEF remains committed providing mini-grants for teachers with innovative ideas for their classroom to improve college, career, and citizenship readiness, students will experience more success within global communities of the 21st Century.

From its origins more than a decade ago, The Gunnison Valley Education Foundation continues the critical mission of raising funds to provide exceptional learning experiences that enrich education for everyone in the local schools.