Viewpoint 181: Brainerd Public Schools Foundation is pedaling forward with opportunities

Though the pandemic has created kinks in our fundraising chain our commitment to the cause is as strong as ever.

Jessica Gangl

Starting my sixth year as the executive director of the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation (BPSF) should have been like riding a bike. Familiar. Safe. Expected. However, 2020 makes it feel like my tires are flat, the brakes are squeaking, and someone has stolen my seat. Is this how our educators feel? Our business community? Of course, we are still clinging to our handlebars, but it’s a whole lot harder to steer and a much bumpier ride.

BPSF is pedaling hard on a new path to continue to raise the funds needed to further enhance opportunities for the students of the Brainerd Public Schools through the arts, academics, athletics and activities. While several of our social fundraising/networking events were postponed indefinitely, last spring we were able to switch gears and successfully host Senior Recognition Night and the Warrior Homecoming Run virtually. We are excited to have awarded more than $122,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors and had 237 racers register for the run.

We are currently in the middle of the Brainerd Public Schools Employee Giving Campaign, which wraps up on Oct 16. Last year, the Brainerd Publi Schools staff gifted over $40,000 to the United Way and BPSF through this annual effort, where 100% of the gifts to BPSF benefit the 4A Grants Program. The 4A Grant Cycle is open until noon on Monday, Oct 19. This is an opportunity for teachers, staff and coaches to apply for funds to implement new, innovative opportunities with their students or teams.

Our board is diligently considering all the options to host a Big (un)Event in February of 2021 that creates the same level of excitement and community support as in past years. The funds raised at this premier destination event support the Foundation, our 4A Grants program, and our annual Dream Big project. The need to go virtual presents us with a lot of opportunities to think outside the box and do things differently. The Hook, Line, & Sinker – Catch and Release Generosity theme will be one you won’t want to miss.

The pandemic has created kinks in our fundraising chain that we are working to maneuver around. While the “way we do things” is changing, our commitment to the cause is as strong as ever.


Thank you to our community, staff, and businesses for all you do to support BPSF and our schools. Visit to learn more.

Jessica Gangl is Brainerd Public Schools Foundation executive director
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