|Established in 2012 by a group of parents and school faculty, the
Freedom Cares Foundation was looked upon as a way to bring the arts
and athletics families together to raise funds at Freedom High School.
Prior to the formation of the foundation, individual booster organizations
that supported these programs were on their own to raise money. Since
Freedom is a small school district with many multi-talented students, a
number of parents belonged to multiple booster organizations. This
became costly and time consuming. Feeling as though there must be a
better solution, a meeting was held that was open to all booster
organization parents. After much discussion, it was agreed that all
organizations would work together to hold a Cash Bash. Since so many
groups were involved, it was decided that the Cash Bash should be
overseen by an independent entity; and so, the Freedom Cares
Foundation was born!
During the first year's groundbreaking stages, Anna Maria Folmar, an
Administrative Assistant at Freedom High School became invaluable to
the foundation. Anna Maria managed ticket sales and secured several
sponsors that still support the organization to this day. While she
handled all of those details, the Executive Committee worked to
establish us as a 501(c)3 organization, which included the writing of the
Bylaws. Additionally, all of the logistics of the event and determinations
about fund distributions were made by the Committee. To everyone's
great delight, a profit of $26,300 was made! From this money, two
$250 scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors; one for a senior
that participated in the Arts and one to a senior that participated in
Athletics. Also from this money, $43 was returned to the organizations
for every $50 ticket that they sold. This distribution of funds was
designed to keep things as equal as possible. Organizations would earn
money for their groups based on the number of tickets that they sold.
Every year some adjustments are made to increase efficiency and
entertainment value, but overall, the same basic template from year one
is still used.
The Freshman Forum was created in 2014. This was a program
originated by Mrs. Folmar and designed to help prepare freshmen at
Freedom High School to search for employment. Leaders in the
community voluntarily spend the day with students. They hold
seminars and mock interviews. These leaders then provide an
assessment of the interviews to help the students improve his/her
interview skills. The forum is currently run by ninth grade teachers at
Freedom High School and is now supported by the Freedom School
District instead of Freedom Cares Foundation.
Unfortunately, Freedom Cares suffered the loss of one of its own, Anna
Maria Folmar, in the summer of 2015. She did so much for this
organization and the Freedom Community that her absence is still felt to
this day. After establishing a third scholarship, this one for alumni, the
scholarship program was renamed the Anna Maria Folmar Memorial
Scholarship. This would also be the first year for the Freedom
Homecoming Fall Festival. This was another project near and dear to
the heart of Anna aria. Freedom Cares was, and is, proud to participate
in this event every year.
On February 27, 2016, the 4th Annual Freedom Cares Cash Bash was
held. This was the first year that it was held at the St, Elijah Serbian
Center and that it became B.Y.O.B. Due to both the new venue and
generous donations from the community to honor our lost loved one, this
was the most profitable Cash Bash to date. The profit per ticket was $58
in addition to the $1,250 in scholarships awarded. Deciding this was a
good position in which to leave the foundation, our founding president
resigned from the organization as did the current treasurer.
The future of Freedom Cares was uncertain at this point due to some
difficulty finding new Executive Committee members. After a
month-long search, several e-mails and some interviews, the vacant
Committee seats were finally filled. The 5th Annual Freedom Cares Cash
Bash was scheduled for March 4, 2017. It was another successful
endeavor! Three scholarships were awarded and $51 was returned to
the booster groups for every ticket that they sold.
In the summer of 2017, an initiative was started to increase the public
awareness about Freedom Cares. Although the foundation had been
around for 5 years, there were still some people in the community that
had never heard about it or the Cash Bash. Annette Zajac and her father
built a game called the Bulldog Drop. It was used at booths during
Generations Marketplace, New Sewickley Community Day, Conway
Community Day and the Freedom Homecoming Fall Festival to gain
attention for the charity. Children could win toys and ring pops while
adults could win money, reusable grocery bags, candy bars or a raffle
entry for a free Cash Bash ticket. Strip tickets were also sold. Booster
groups that worked the booth received an entry for a drawing to win
$200. One entry was earned for each hour of volunteer time provided.
The winner of the Booster drawing was the Freedom Drama Club. A
modest profit was made at each event but more importantly, additional
people were now informed about Freedom Cares. The winners of the
Cash Bash tickets drawing were Beth and Renee. Each received one
ticket to the 6th Annual Freedom Cares Cash Bash that was held on
Saturday, March 3, 2018.