Hoover Schools Foundation Director Hanily
Dr. Mary Lynn Hanily, executive director of Hoover City Schools Foundation, with Foundation President Kristin Ross.
Dr. Mary Lynn Hanily is Executive Director, Hoover City Schools Foundation
Q: What is the purpose of the Hoover City Schools Foundation?
A: The foundation is a separate nonprofit organization whose mission is to support innovative education in the classrooms of all Hoover City Schools. The foundation supports teacher-driven initiatives that help bring new programs and interactive learning to the students through annual grants. It also offers several scholarships to students.
Q: The bus issue has ensured that Hoover City Schools has had no shortage of coverage (and criticism) in the spotlight. Why step into a leadership role with the foundation at this time?
A: The spotlight on Hoover City Schools also highlights just how strong a school system it is in terms of graduation rates, National Merit finalists, scholarship awards, enrichment activities, teacher-student ratios, attraction of top teacher talent, community support and parent engagement to name a few items.
The foundation has been in existence for over 20 years, and the board members have grown it to the point that in order to build capacity, it needed a full-time staff person. And I was blessed to be chosen as its first executive director.
Q: How does your background and skill set match the demands of the job? What can residents expect to see from you in the role?
A: I have been the director of development (fundraising) at two other institutions. Although each one was very different, the bottom line is that schools need an infusion of some funding to keep their standards and accomplishments moving forward.
As we know, funding from the State of Alabama will likely not increase. And Hoover is one of the school systems [in the state of Alabama] where enrollment increases annually. Therefore, the foundation can be one of the key local organizations that can hopefully fill in some of the gaps in funding.
What we need to remember is that if someone is not asked to support the foundation, more than likely we will not receive a gift. Gifts are investments in the future of our Hoover students. Most importantly, we are stewards of these investments and must be transparent and accountable to our donors.
Q: What do you see as the foundation’s top challenges this spring? In the 2014-15 school year?
A: This spring, we will have our clay shoot in April or May. We also will talk with our current and potential donors, and will begin to work more closely with the Hoover Chamber of Commerce.
During the next school year, we hope to have a special event in the fall.
[Generally speaking], we need to communicate with our alumni, and we need to make sure that we have an annual/year-end fundraising campaign.
Fundraising has several key components, including relationship building with your constituents and giving these potential investors an opportunity to support the foundation.
These [goals] comprise some of our opportunities for the coming year.
Q: What are your personal ties to the City of Hoover? Why did this job capture your attention?
A: I live in the City of Hoover. My cousin’s children attend Bluff Park Elementary School. I have seen what that school offers and the very positive parent engagement in the school. Her daughter who is in kindergarten reads to me now. And her third-grade son has participated in enrichment [level] activities. In fact, I have heard all about origami and starfish (complete with starfish dissection) that he learned in the first semester and how excited he is about Lego robotics during this nine-week period.
It is wonderful when children are interested and engaged in learning. It will lead them into lifetime learning.
Q: How can residents and other stakeholders in the Hoover City Schools system most effectively engage with you?
A: Participate in our events, read our newsletters, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, go to our website and donate! And please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to talk with you or your organization about the foundation!