ECPSF meets Pablo Foundation match challenge for Solar on Eau Claire Schools, project on track for late summer install

Kayla Midthun, Ramone's Ice Cream Parlor co-owner, left; and Sarah French, Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation executive director, right.    6/9/2020

 After a successful match challenge in April, Pablo Foundation issued an additional match challenge for the Solar on Eau Claire Schools Fund for the end of the school year. With a deadline for challenge gifts of June 5, the community again came together, and raised $26,464 to meet the match!  

In celebration of Earth Day, the Pablo Foundation offered the same match for gifts made in April to the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation’s Solar on Eau Claire Schools Fund, which is supporting the installation of solar arrays on Eau Claire Memorial and North high schools. Donations made in April surpassed $45,000, exceeding the goal, inspiring Pablo Foundation to issue the additional $25,000 match challenge for the end of the school year.

Among the end of school year challenge donors was Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor’s Cash for a Cause. The local restaurant, owned by ECASD graduates, issues their collected tips to charities in the area selected by Ramone’s team members. The team selected Solar on Eau Claire Schools for the month of May through June 5. Ramone’s and customers raised over $1,400 in support of the project! 

The Solar on Eau Claire Schools project, launched in December 2019, is raising between $250,000 and $275,000 to fund the electrical work, installation, racking, and 25-year maintenance contract for two solar arrays of 360 solar panels each, and is nearing its goal, thanks in part to the Pablo Foundation match challenges. The first 360 panels for the project were donated by the Couillard Solar Foundation. An anonymous donor will contribute the second 360 panels contingent upon the installation bid contractor award.

Lien & Peterson Architects, Inc. was awarded the electrical engineering contract to design the installation following approval at Eau Claire Area School District’s June 1 school board meeting. Once the design is submitted, ECASD will issue an Invitation for Bid (IFB) for contractors in the area to submit bids to install the donated panels. The installation contract is expected to be reviewed at the July 20 school board meeting, allowing for installation to begin late summer and be complete in the fall.

Once installation is complete, the solar panels’ performance will be incorporated into the STEM activities at the two high schools.  This project is estimated to save Eau Claire Area School District approximately $20,000 a year in utility costs.

“We are so grateful for the partnerships of Pablo Foundation and Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor. Their investment inspired and encouraged more community involvement in the solar project, and we are thrilled to be on track for installation” said Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Sarah French. “Donors will have an incredible impact for our students!”

Gifts to the Solar on Eau Claire Schools Fund support the installation, racking, and maintenance of the panels, making it an exclusively community supported project. To donate, click here: 

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Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation is a nonprofit, independent organization that connects the community and Eau Claire Area School District to inspire and enhance the educational experience of our students. Through charitable donations gifted from community members and businesses, ECPSF is able to provide schools with their greatest needs, support educator creativity, and grow endowment funds to enable future giving.