Bluestem Association for Student Education (B.A.S.E.) originated in 1997 with a few people who met with the idea that Bluestem Schools needed a charitable foundation to benefit the district. Thus in 1998 after writing the Articles of Incorporation, receiving 501(c)3 status, and developing our Mission Statement, BASE was established. Funding began with a trickle of gifts and the first small classroom grant was awarded.
Over the years, BASE members have held a number of fund-raising events including haunted houses, garden and home tours, concession stands, serving dinners and receptions; each to raise money for the foundation. All the while, increasing numbers of Bluestem employees continue to make monthly charitable contributions to BASE. These funds have been returned to the classroom in the form of grants to support innovation curriculum and teaching materials for Bluestem students. Some of these grants have been author visits, weight training equipment, video equipment, health curriculum, microphone headsets, pottery wheels, electronics and digital age literacy among others.
Through the generosity of Kansas Gas Service (ONEOK Foundation) $28,930 has been received in grants. ONEOK Foundation grants have funded the purchase of a Promethean Collaborative Classroom, graphing calculators and projectors, an Interactive Distance Classroom at Bluestem Elementary, multimedia upgrades to the Bluestem Jr/Sr High School Auditorium, an iPod lab and a classroom photography project at the elementary school.
BASE awards 5 scholarships in memory of Sam Parsons, Donna Cornish, David Kohls, Don Jones and Cathy Wilson. BASE also provides the funding for the Community Service Scholarship. These scholarships are awarded annually to Bluestem graduates. Other memorial gifts have included providing Christmas gifts to needy families in our community, purchasing yearbooks for underprivileged students and library books for our school library.
Members of the community as well as businesses, both large and small, have made a significant difference in the number and quality of BASE grants awarded. This has made a big impact on our community over the last 21 years. Employee giving of $25,000 memorial gifts of $21,000 and other gifts of $5,000 has allowed BASE to give out $20,000 in scholarships and $60,000 in classroom grants to benefit Bluestem students.