History of WMEF
For many years persons in leadership roles of the Wisconsin Mathematics Council, Inc. have envisioned the existence of a Trust or Foundation to support mathematics education in Wisconsin.
A meeting including some of those visionary people was finally held in August 2009 to initiate the formation of a mathematics education trust for Wisconsin. Wanda Bussey, Gail Burrill, Jack Burrill, Jane Howell, Pat Hopfensperger, John Janty, Joe Kmoch, Diana Kasbaum Henry Kranendonk, and Mike Weidner were in attendance. Initially called the Wisconsin Mathematics Education Trust, in 2011 the name was changed to the Wisconsin Mathematics Education Foundation (WMEF) to meet state guidelines.
A year later, the first Board of Directors meeting for the new trust took place on August 6, 2010 in West Allis. Mike Weidner provided the leadership for the meeting as well as generating the initial paper work to create the trust. Those present at the meeting were Jack Burrill, Jane Howell, John Janty, Joe Kmoch, and Mike Weidner. Additional members of the Board of Directors include Pat Hopfensperger and Beth Schelfelker. Diana Kasbaum, WMC President, appointed Shunda Allen to the Board as an ex-officio member and liaison to the Wisconsin Mathematics Council. She was later replaced by Dave Ebert, current WMC President. At the meeting Board members reviewed the Articles of Incorporation, WMEF By-Laws, and Conflict of Interest Policy that had been drafted and reviewed over the previous year.
Terms for the Board members were determined by consensus with: Beth Schelfelker and Pat Hopfensperger will be serving two-year terms, Jane Howell, Joe Kmoch, and Jack Burill will be serving three-year terms, and John Janty and Mike Weidner will be serving four-year terms.
Officers were elected and include: John Janty, Chair; Mike Weidner, Secretary; Joe Kmoch, Treasurer; Jack Burrill, Parliamentarian; and Jane Howell, Historian.
The necessary papers were filed with the state and federal agencies to establish tax-exempt status for the new Foundation. WMEF was first introduced publicly to the Wisconsin Mathematics Council membership at their 2011 annual conference. A WMEF brochure was designed and published. The website was created and put online (wmefonline.org). WMEF received its tax-exempt status from the IRS under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code in July, 2011. Contributions are tax deductible under section 170 of the Code.
WMEF is now placing its efforts in fund raising to support its activities. Those activities currently include awarding academic awards and scholarships for students pursuing careers in math education, grants for persons to attend the WMC annual meeting, and the initiation of a research grant for teachers. Our first annual report was designed and published. Numerous efforts went towards the fundraising activities to be held during the WMC annual conference in 2013.
The Board of Directors placed its efforts on fundraising projects. Thanks to a number of corporate sponsors WMEF was able to raise $6,000 during the WMC annual conference. Shortly the Foundation received a generous contribution from the employees at Epic. On June 17, Board members met with WMC Board members to discuss the relationship between the two organizations. The discussion in June led to the creation of an ad hoc committee comprised of Board members from both WMEF and WMC. The charge of the committee is to explore ways to expand coordination of efforts for the two organizations and to investigate possible restructuring. The challenge for the committee is to find the best way to achieve a common vision and create a structure through which that vision can be best accomplished.