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May 2015 President’s Message

Walt CochranGreetings to the entire MRTA family from the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation (MRTF). We hope you are well and in good health. What a wonderful time of the year. Things look so much better with green leaves, green grass, and blooming flowers.

The Address Label Campaign has been a major part of fundraising for the Foundation the past several years. The labels were mailed April 15 and you should have received them by now. I would like to remind everyone of HB 444 passed in 2007. The law was phased in over 6 years. As of 2012, you can deduct, on your state income tax, up to $35,000 of your retirement income. This is a tremendous savings to education retirees in Missouri. Director Kreider, and MRTA, was responsible for the passage of HB 444. Please consider using a portion of these savings for a generous donation to help support activities of the Foundation.

This is a busy time of the year for Foundation activities and fundraisers. The Classroom Grant Program continues to be a major activity of the Foundation. Applications for Classroom Grants have been available since the middle of March and were available at the Presidents Summit in Jefferson City. Contact the MRTA office or check the Foundation website if you need more applications. Applications must be postmarked no later than midnight on June 30. Local Unit Presidents are a vital link in getting applications out to the school buildings in their communities. A SPECIAL THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND EFFORT WITH THE APPLICATIONS. Last year, the Foundation awarded $500 classroom grants to 42 teachers across the state of Missouri. In 2015 the Foundation will award 56 classroom grants! Teachers welcome this assistance for many purposes; for example, to purchase books, iPads, reading and math aides, “Baby-Think-It Over” kits, science project aids, and many, many others. All of these classrooms are deserving; however, one we found most heartwarming was a middle school special education teacher who wanted her students to experience and develop life skills in the “real” world.

This is a good time of the year to remind Local Units and Local Unit Presidents of the Annual Silent Auction to be held at the Annual Meeting in September. They need to begin preparations now. The Auction last year was the most successful ever. The number of items and money raised ($9,000) was a record. Karen Miller and Jan Powers will Co-Chair the Auction this year. Please start your preparations now and let’s set another record in 2015. All proceeds at the Silent Auction will go toward Classroom Grants.

The Board of Directors voted in December to update the MRTF website. The design is more aesthetic, easier to use, and is expected to increase member interest in the MRTF arm of the Association. A wealth of information is available about the Foundation. Included is information about the history of MRTF, donor wall levels of giving, grant applications, ways to donate, scholarship and grant winners, donors, etc. Please spend some time on the website. We are really proud of the new look. Many thanks to Jim, Patti, Sarah, Lisa, and Joyce for all their time and effort with this project.

On behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROSITY in supporting our activities and fundraisers. We look forward to another successful year in 2015.


January 2015 President’s Message

GREETINGS to all of the MRTA family from the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation (MRTF).It is my sincere wish that you survived Christmas and New Years in good health.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on the year passed. Briefly, I would like to mention a couple of things. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family of Bill Ray. Bill passed away in late November of 2014. His contributions to MRTA and MRTF stretched over many years. Bill was serving on the Foundation Board of Directors at the time of his death. His last contribution was to help with the Silent Auction at the Annual Meeting last September. Second, because of your CARING AND GENEROSITY, 2014 was a tremendous success for the Foundation. We were able to give forty-two (42) $500 Classroom Grants. The Silent Auction had the most items and raised the most money in the history of this event. A significant amount of money was raised for the elevator. THE ELEVATOR IS INSTALLED AND PAID FOR!

The Foundation Board of Directors would like to inform you of a few decisions made at the annual meeting last December.

It is my pleasure to announce two new members to the Foundation Board of Directors. Mary Ridge will represent Region 4. John Moyer will represent Region 12. Welcome to both Mary and John. It is my goal to have representation on the Board from each of the fourteen (14) MRTA Regions. We are getting close.

  1. The number of Classroom Grants for each MRTA Region will be increased from three (3) to four (4) Grants in 2015. This will be a total of fifty-six (56) $500 Grants in 2015. One (1) more Grant per Region will be given if funds become available in the Spring.
  2. The MRTF Website is undergoing a much needed update. The design will be more aesthetic, easier to use, and is expected to increase member interest in the MRTF arm of the Association.
  3. Plans are being made to have MRTF representation at every MRTA Region meeting in the future. It is important to let the entire MRTA family know about the Foundation and the work that it does.
  4. The Donor Recognition Wall (Wall of Honor) is in the process of being updated. Many donors were able to go from one level to another because of donations to the elevator fund or classroom grants. Much more information will be given at Region meetings about the levels on the Wall and ways to contribute to the Foundation. The Wall is located at the MRTA/MRTF Office Facility.
  5. Karen Miller and Jan Powers will Co-Chair the Silent Auction at the Annual Meeting next September. The last Silent Auction was very successful. We have a RECORD TO BREAK in terms of the number of items and money raised ($9,000).

On behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors,

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR YOU GENEROSITY in supporting our fundraising activities. We look forward to your continued support in the future. The next fundraiser will be the Mailing Label Campaign in April. Please support us in this effort as we work toward MRTF Classroom Grants, MRTF Building Improvement/ Maintenance Fund, and the MRTF Endowment Fund.

The hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm of the Foundation Board of Directors is remarkable. What a pleasure to work with them. One of our members is ROSEMARY BANE. On January 15 Rosemary celebrated her 90th Birthday! A beautiful reception was held for her in Springfield, what a wonderful celebration it was. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSEMARY!

October 2014 President’s Message

On behalf of the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation, I would like to personally thank everyone who donated to the Foundation in 2014. Due to the generosity of our donors we gave out 42 – $500 Classroom Grants, as well as, paid for and installed an elevator in the MRTA/MRTF Office Facility!

As with any charitable organization, however, our work is never done and we hope you will consider donating in the future. Right now, our focus must turn to rallying support for MRTA and the work they are doing against Amendment 3! Please join MRTA in getting the message out on Amendment 3 and how detrimental it would be to communities and our public schools. I also urge you to renew your membership for 2014, or join if you are not yet a member! It is through membership that we are able to be successful!

August 2014 President’s Message

HELLO and GREETINGS to the entire MRTA family. Gail and I just returned from a wonderful and SAFE 4th of July weekend with family. It is our hope that you and your family experienced the same.

I would like to update you on some recent MRT Foundation activities. The words come to mind—“THANK YOU”. The two words seem inadequate. Let me expand THANK YOU to “A VERY BIG THANK YOU” as I go forward with the information below.

The MRT Foundation Board of Directors voted, in September of 2013, to launch a fundraising campaign for an ELEVATOR in the MRTA/ MRTF Office Facility. The announcement was made at the Annual Meeting at the same time. An Elevator Planning Committee was appointed and planning on the campaign was organized. Various

fundraising activities were planned and organized over the next several months. The Theme for the campaign was—-MRTA LEADERS ASKED—WE LISTENED—“THE NEED IS NOW.” The entire idea behind the project was to meet the mobility needs of our MRTA membership in using the lower level Classroom Area of the office facility.

I am very pleased and so honored to be able to inform you that the BOOKS ARE CLOSED ON THE ELEVATOR CAMPAIGN. Total cost of the project was $107,000. We had about $30,000 on hand when the fundraising campaign started. The elevator company, the contractor, the architect, and all the inspectors HAVE BEEN PAID IN FULL.

The MRT Foundation Board of Directors would like to extend A VERY BIG THANK YOU to the following for participating in the ELEVATOR FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN:

  • All individual MRTA members who donated cash or bought a patio brick.
  • Local Units that donated cash, bought a patio brick, or had fundraisers for the elevator.
  • Regional Vice Presidents who organized various fundraisers at their Region meetings.
  • Business and Corporate partner donations.
  • Local Unit and individual participation in the last Silent Auction, Year-End-Ask Letters, and the Spring Mailing Label Campaign.
  • Individuals who participated in the various levels of the Donor Wall.
  • Individuals and Board Members who donated expenses to meetings since last September.
  • MRTA Executive Director Jim Kreider, the Office Staff, and the MRTA Board of Directors.

The 2014 Classroom Grant Program is well underway as we speak. Applications had to be postmarked no later than June 30. The Regional Vice Presidents will form the committees and the selection process will be completed in the next few weeks. Winners will be notified and checks distributed by the time school starts for the 2014-15 school year. A total of 190 applications for grants were received this year. This is the largest number of applications received for one year in the history of the grant program. The popularity of the grant program is growing as word spreads across the state. Forty-two grants will be awarded for 2014, 3 grants for each of the 14 MRTA regions. Each grant will be for $500 and all grants will total $21,000. This is money raised in addition to the elevator campaign. Another VERY BIG THANK YOU is in order for your continued support of the Classroom Grant Program. The Foundation Board is very proud of this program.

A short note to Local Unit Presidents and Members across the state. Please remember the Silent Auction coming up at the Annual Meeting in September. This is a major fundraiser for the Foundation and all money raised will go for Classroom Grants. Please note the flyer in this edition of the Newsletter.

A final note for members who purchased a Patio Brick in the elevator campaign. The bricks have been engraved and are installed in the Patio Area.

On behalf of the MRT Foundation Board of Directors, “A VERY BIG-BIG-BIG THANK YOU” for your continuing support of our fundraising activities. Our OFFICE FACILITY IS NOW COMPLETE with the elevator. MRTA folks are the BEST and can be very proud of what you have accomplished for retired educators in Missouri. I am so thankful and proud to be associated with all of you.

May 2014 President’s Message

This is the BEST time of the entire year. Flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and the cold temperatures are gone. The only negative would be those springtime allergies and related problems. Please consider yourself fortunate if you were able to escape them.

Greetings to all the MRTA family across the state. I am reminded of a word that many young people use frequently. “AWESOME.” Everything seems to be awesome in their conversations. This is a very “EXCITING AND AWESOME” time for the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation (MRTF). I would like to inform you about the progress on a couple of AWESOME Foundation projects.

The MRT Foundation Board is extremely proud of the CLASSROOM GRANT PROGRAM. Each Classroom Grant ever given has been for $500. The total number of Grants given since 2004 is 95 grants totaling $47,500. The number of grants awarded in recent years has increased significantly. 2009—5 grants, 2010—7 grants, 2011—14 grants, 2012—14 grants, and 2013—42 grants. Each MRTA Region received 3 grants in 2013. The Foundation will be able to award another forty-two $500 Classroom Grants in 2014 (3 per each of the 14 MRTA Regions). The success of the Grant Program is only possible because of YOUR GENEROSITY with Foundation fundraising activities. “THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.” The application process for 2014 grants has been in full swing since April 1st. The deadline for applications is a postmark of June 30. Selections will be made and checks presented about the time school starts.

Next, let me review the status on the Foundation fundraising campaign for the ELEVATOR in the MRTA/MRTF Office Facility. Remember, the Foundation Board voted to launch the fundraiser for the ELEVATOR CAMPAIGN in September of 2013. The elevator was shipped the week of May 12th. Installation occurring the week of May 19th. It is very possible the installation will be complete by the time you receive this Newsletter. We have encouraged Local Units to make cash donations or purchase a Patio Brick in honor of the Local Unit. We have encouraged MRTA members statewide to do the same. WE HAVE ROUNDED THIRD BASE AND ARE HEADED FOR HOME PLATE. ALMOST THERE. We are $18,300 short of completing the elevator fundraiser.

MRTA Director Kreider and the MRTA Board of Directors are planning on using the lower level CLASSROOM area more and more as time goes on. This will save a lot of money that can be used for member services. An elevator will help meet the mobility needs of many of our members. The elevator will help every MRTA member from all Local Units across the state as they come for leadership training sessions and meetings. There have been many MRTA/MRTF fundraisers over the years to raise money, build, and pay off the mortgage for our wonderful Office Facility. It is a million dollar facility. Surely we can reach HOME PLATE and complete the much needed ELEVATOR CAMPAIGN for this wonderful facility that serves you so well.

The MAILING LABEL CAMPAIGN will help us reach HOME PLATE. This is a major fundraiser for the Foundation. MRTA members across the state received the labels in mid-April. Please consider a donation today so the Foundation does not have to borrow the money to complete the elevator project. The elevator WILL BE installed.

On behalf of the MRT Foundation Board, THANK YOU AGAIN for your past and continuing support of our fundraising activities. MRTA folks are the BEST and can be very proud of what you have accomplished for retired educators in Missouri.

January 2014 President’s Message

MRTA Leaders Asked We Listened

Greetings to all of the MRTA family. I trust that you are well and prepared for Christmas and the New Year. I am very pleased to announce that CLASSROOM GRANT checks are being written and distributed as I write this article. The process will be completed by the end of December. The MRT

Foundation Board voted on September 9th to give three (3) classroom grants to each of the fourteen (14) MRTA Regions. This would be a total of (42) grants statewide. Each grant is for five hundred ($500) dollars. Total grant distribution for 2013 will be twenty-one ($21,000) thousand dollars. The Foundation Board is extremely proud of the number of grants this year and it was only possible because of YOUR GENEROSITY with Foundation fundraising activities. The Board looks forward to another great year with Classroom Grants in 2014.

I want to take this opportunity to tell you about another action taken by the MRT Foundation Board on September 9th. You may or may not have heard about this action. In a unanimous vote, the Board voted to launch an “ELEVATOR CAMPAIGN”. The money raised would be used to install an elevator in the MRTA/MRTF Office Facility. The decision was announced at the General Assembly and Annual Meeting on September 9th. There is a growing and urgent need for an elevator in the office facility. Plans are being made to use the lower lever CLASSROOM area more and more in the future. The use of the classroom area can be very beneficial in leadership and training activities for our membership statewide. The savings are significant in holding meetings in our own facility rather than other places. Please remember that retirement and aging can sometimes bring mobility issues. We need to be prepared to serve the needs of all of our members in the MRTA/MRTF Facility. The theme for the campaign is—MRTA LEADERS ASKED-WE LISTENED! “THE NEED IS NOW” The goal will be to raise $50,000 for the elevator project.

The fundraising effort is going well, but more needs to be done. Please consider donating if you have received a letter and not done so. Information will be coming soon about the COMMEMORATIVE PATIO BRICK campaign for the elevator. This information will go to Local Unit Presidents and Local Unit Members across the state. The bricks would be placed in the patio area around the flag pole outside the office facility. Please remember that all contributions to MRTF are tax deductible.

I want to end this article by making a few comments about the importance of MRTA&PSP to retired educators and public school personnel in Missouri. Please read and reread all articles and information in this issue of the MRTA Newsletter. It is full of valuable information for education retirees in Missouri. My words may seem rather short and to the point. I cannot state it any other way. YOU NEED MRTA AND MRTA NEEDS YOU. The dues are only $35 a year. What a bargain!!!! I am not worried about my retirement check coming. I am worried about the thousands of active public school teachers paying into the system today. Will they be able to enjoy the same excellent retirement system that you and I have had? So many forces are at work from within and outside the state to do us harm. Public pension systems and defined benefit plans are under assault across the nation. MRTA has and will continue to lead the fight for retired educators in Missouri. MRTA has been successful in stopping a lot of legislation detrimental to our pension system and public education. THE BATTLES WILL CONTINUE. MRTA membership is growing and that MEMBERSHIP is well recognized in Jefferson City. Please join or renew your membership for 2014 and spread the word about the work of MRTA for retired educators.

On behalf of the MRT Foundation Board, I wish you a HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.