2009- Elissa Wahl, Angela Kleven, Sherry Matheny, and Antoinette Montandon, four homeschooling moms, founded RISE Education Resource Center, Inc. We all had different needs: classes to supplement education, an affordable location for families to meet, support for all forms of education, and a desire for more community awareness of educational options such as homeschooling and charter schooling. We formed RISE to meet all of these needs.
2009 was a busy year for us. We did all of the paperwork to start a non-profit organization. We filed our Articles of Incorporation, we created bylaws, we wrote and submitted for our federal tax-exempt status, and we created our first business plan.
2010- In May, we received our 501(c)(3) determination by the IRS as a tax-exempt organization. We then began the search for partners who believed in us and our vision. We distributed our executive summary and business plan. When we asked for outside mentoring everyone had different ideas about how to secure funding and acquire a facility. We busily tried to write grants and showcase our vision, but no one seemed to understand exactly what we wanted to do or why an existing building wouldn’t work.
2011-In June we had a wonderful opportunity to meet with Joe Lake, Co-Founder of Children’s Miracle Network. He inspired us and renewed our hope that we could accomplish our mission. That September, we were introduced to the Advent United Methodist Church, which is a great start-up facility. They gave us a chance to prove to ourselves and to others that our ideas are needed.
In mid-October, we opened our doors! In essence, we opened as a trial, an experiment…just to GO! We started programs for children during the day, mentoring for parents, homeschooling “how to” classes in the evenings, support and a facility for homeschool groups, statewide and national outreach for school choice, as well as promoting charter schools, homeschooling and educational options in general.
2012-13 We began to impact public awareness regarding educational choice. We hosted several large educational events, we participated in two successful National School Choice Weeks, we hosted charter school open houses, and we have been in the media repeatedly.
TodayWhile we have had many great successes, we still struggle to stay open. We have a lot of work to do to fulfill our mission; we are in the process of recruiting Board members, administrative staff, a network of volunteers. We are also seeking a solid foundation of donors, without whom the future of RISE is dim.
So, what does the future look like? You’ll have to go here to see!