United North staff who received mini grants, from left, Mindy Murray, Marci Bertelson, and Jaime Koerner.
United North staff who received mini grants for the 2022-23 school year are, from left, Mindy Murray, Marci Bertelson, and Jaime Koerner.

Alexis Community Fund Awards Grants to Teachers and Community

When Jaime Koerner joined United North Elementary School as librarian in 2021, she noticed that several upper elementary students didn’t check out many books. “Students confided in me that the reason they do not check out books is because they have dyslexia or other learning disabilities, struggle with focus due to ADHD, feel too busy, or find reading the larger books difficult.”

A mini grant from the Alexis Community Fund will allow Koerner to purchase audiobooks for her students. “Audiobooks are considered one of the ‘Great Equalizers,’” says Koerner. “These audiobooks help students digest larger, higher-level books in a way that is both enjoyable and allows them to check out the same books as their peers even if they are not at the same reading level. It also helps our Spanish-speaking students enjoy great books without the stress of decoding English.”

The Alexis Community Fund will award three mini grants to teachers at United North for the 2023-24 academic year. In addition to new audiobooks for the library, special education teacher Mindy Murray will receive funding to purchase a series of books to improve student comprehension skills. Reading interventionist Marci Bertelson will also receive a mini grant to purchase new phonics books for her kindergarten and first grade students who are struggling readers.

“There are many times when teachers see a need in the classroom that requires extra resources,” says Moses Anderson, chair of the Alexis Community Fund Advisory Board. “Mini grants are a way for the community to support the efforts of our teachers to educate our children.”

The Alexis Community Fund was established by local residents and built with gifts from community members, businesses, service organizations, and other sources. The Alexis Community Fund, which is an endowed fund of Galesburg Community Foundation, is guided by a local advisory board that is empowered to award grants that positively impact the Alexis community.

In addition to teacher mini grants, the Community Fund also awarded a grant to the Alexis Museum to repair damage caused by frozen pipes this winter. A grant was also awarded to the Village of Alexis to partially cover the cost of flowers that will be planted by the Alexis Ladies League along Main Street.

Learn more about the Alexis Community Fund.

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Haley Sloss

Charitable Giving Coordinator

Short Bio

Haley provides support to enhance the function and success of the Charitable Giving and Affiliate Teams. She ensures donors receive a personal approach to philanthropy through outstanding customer service by supporting charitable giving for donors and fund holders across the state.