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Reverend Stephen Gray founded the Hopkinton Education Foundation during the 1991-1992 school year to give Hopkinton citizens and businesses a way to fund innovative educational opportunities for the town’s students. Its purpose was to supplement the school system’s budget. Community meetings were held to solicit interest and input, and education foundations from around the state and country were researched to understand how they were formed and operated.
In 1992, a Board of Directors was established, by-laws were created, and non-profit status was established. Supporting committees were then formed and the Hopkinton Education Foundation began to grow. The Hopkinton Education Foundation decided to fund creative projects that were not normally financially supported by the school budget but could still have the greatest impact on the largest number of students. Grant awards were initially limited to $1,000 for individual teachers. Grant processes and guidelines were developed as well as criteria to evaluate grant applications. In the fall of 1992, fundraising efforts began with community solicitation. As a result, the Hopkinton Education Foundation raised $12,000 during the 1992 – 1993 school year, its first year of official operation. Eleven thousand dollars in grants were awarded during surprise visits made to teachers at their schools.
During the next few years the Hopkinton Education Foundation started holding additional fundraising activities, including a golf tournament with the Boosters (first held in August 1994), a fashion show, a “Walk for Education”, and spelling bees.
Each year the Hopkinton Education Foundation raised more funds and award more grants.
Over time the Hopkinton Education Foundation began to move toward intra- and inter-grade grants to benefit more students. Multi-teacher applications were encouraged and exceptions were made to the $1,000 limit in an effort to encourage broader, more comprehensive proposals.
The Board of Directors is comprised of 35 volunteer board and associate members. Board representation is diverse and representative of the town; it strives to have a mix of new and long-time residents, and residents with children of all ages including some not yet in the system and others who have graduated.