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In 1985, the Cloquet Educational Foundation (CEF) started out as the Extra Curricular Activity Fund with the goal of providing funding support for activities within the Cloquet School District.  This idea of providing support became the CEF which today is dedicated solely to Cloquet students and their education.  Our funding supports a wide range of opportunities for academic, artistic, athletic, cultural and social growth for Cloquet students. 


CEF funding does not replace school district responsibilities, rather it works to enhance the finite district dollars and provides innovative learning experiences for all students. 


Back in the 1960’s, when I went through the Cloquet school system, it was taken for granted that the School District would fund virtually all activities that the district and the students agreed would be of educational benefit.  However, with today’s budget cutbacks associated with reductions in state funding of school districts, funds for many programs and activities have been dramatically cutback or eliminated altogether.  The CEF works hard to fill the voids and ensure that beneficial programs and activities happen.  Equal access for all students to participate happens when economic burdens are overcome with CEF funding. 


One activity that had been cut was the school newspaper.  The CEF stepped in to ensure that this worthwhile activity would continue, and it successfully thrives today.  Field trips and peer mentoring programs are just a very few of the activities and programs that the CEF is proud to support.  Many worthwhile activities would simply not happen without CEF. 


We sincerely would like to thank those who have believed in the vision and have helped to build the solid foundation of CEF.  Each year we are blessed to receive many gifts from former students and staff, community residents, local businesses, current student families and district employees.  It is gratifying to see how important CEF is to our donors, the School District and the Cloquet community. 


Thank you for supporting the work of CEF and helping Cloquet’s students.

A long and strong history of the Cloquet Educational Foundation

Humble beginnings >

It all started in the early 1980s when financial troubles plagued many school districts, including Cloquet Public Schools. Major layoffs, reduced programs and extracurricular activities were realities facing the district. Leaders from the school district and the community stepped in to find new ways to raise money and support the programs facing cuts. Early leaders included Harry Newby Sr., Dick Brenner and Russ Smith. 


The group’s first focus was on extracurricular activities. In 1984, with an initial pledge of $50,000 from the Potlatch Corporation, they formed the Cloquet Extra-curricular Activities Fund (CEAF), with the goal of funding activities for pre-school and school-age children. 


In 1989 the group expanded its mission to include educational opportunities and initiatives for students, changed its name to the Cloquet Educational Foundation and became a 501c3 non-profit corporation. The board of directors secured additional funding when the City of Cloquet entrusted the organization with the distribution of pull tab receipts.


Early growth >

By 1992, the endowment fund had grown, and the CEF had granted more than $72,000 to educational programs and activities. The only source of revenue at that time was pull tab receipts. When sales declined, the board of directors explored additional fundraising ideas. That same year, the school district hired a coordinator of community and school resources, Lorna Mangan, to direct the development of the CEF. 


In the following years, the Blue Jean Ball, Annual Golf Outing, Invest in Kids Sponsorships and The Annual Fund Drive became additional revenue sources for the CEF.


More recently, the CEF has created Named Endowed Funds. These named funds help provide financial security to the organization and support the Foundation’s mission while recognizing and honoring the individuals, family, cause or business for which they are named. 


The CEF and the New Millennium>

With the help of donations from alumni, school district staff, organizations, businesses, community members and friends, the Foundation’s endowment grew and enabled the board of directors to grant more than $60,000 to innovative programs and learning activities for Cloquet students each year. In 2016, Lorna Mangan retired after many years of leadership as Director of the CEF, and Jeannie Kermeen was hired to step into the role.


Grant cycles occur three times each year: on the first Tuesday in January, May and October. Applications for funding are due one month prior to each meeting. The grant award process starts within the CEF "Grant Review Committee", where each grant is discussed in depth on its merits before it is set before the board of directors for their careful consideration.  A fourth board of director’s meeting is held in June of each year to elect officers, review investment returns and discuss fundraising plans for the upcoming year.


Over 40 years of supporting education in Cloquet >

Since its beginnings in 1989, the CEF has awarded more than hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for more than one thousand academic initiatives and creative projects for students in Cloquet. All money raised by the CEF goes into an endowment, ensuring funds will be available in perpetuity. Earned interest from the fund is distributed as grants to benefit Cloquet students.

According to Jody Acers, current Director of the CEF, "It is important to note that the success the CEF enjoys rests on the shoulders of so many individuals in the community who have strengthened the CEF for over 40 years. We are grateful for the continued support from our friends, community members, businesses and alumni."


CEF Funding History

per school year as of January 2021


Year               Amount

2020-21         $46,495 Oct/Jan grant cycle

2019-20         $58,348 (Covid 19 disruption)

2018-19          $72,624

2017-18          $69,408

2016-17          $69,228

2015-16          $58,408

2014-15          $57,770

2013-14          $57,534

2012-13          $40,309

2011-12           $34,884

2010-11           $21,712

2009-10         $14,950

2008-09        $21,475

2007-08        $14,990

2006-07        $37,405

2005-06        $28,023

2004-05        $33,201

2003-04        $32,246

2002-03        $38,458

2001-00         $33,080

1999-00         $35,598

1998-99         $32,958

1997-98         $29,223

1996-97         $18,236

1995-96         $22,574

1994-95         $19,837

1993-94         $17,505

1992-93         $  6,525

1991-92          $17,590

1990-91          $  9,956

1989-90         $28,852

Up to 1989    $  5,135

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A message from Del Prevost:  CEF board member, community supporter and 1968 CHS alumnus

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Above: Russ Smith and Dick Brenner(along with Harry Newby) were early founders of the CEF

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Historic Garfield School 

Closed as an elementary school in 1981. Currently this stately building houses the ISD #94-Cloquet Schools administrative offices, including the Cloquet Educational Foundation.

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