Buckhannon State Farm Agent Kelley Tierney presents Don Nestor, president of Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, with a $10,000 check to help celebrate State Farm’s 100-year anniversary Tuesday, June 28. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

State Farm agent donates $10K to Foundation for Better Schools after winning outstanding community involvement award

BUCKHANNON – A local State Farm agent donated $10,000 to the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, thanks to the State Farm’s Outstanding Community Engagement Grant program.

Buckhannon State Farm Agent Kelley Tierney presented Don Nestor, president of Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, with a $10,000 check to help celebrate State Farm’s 100-year anniversary Tuesday, June 28.

“It’s great to be part of a company that wants to celebrate by giving away money, and they collectively are giving away $1.5 million in new grant money as a celebration for their 100th anniversary,” Tierney said. “This particular award was for 100 agents who have demonstrated community involvement, and you had to be nominated by other agents or staff folks.”

Tierney said she was honored to have been nominated.

“It was exciting to get a nomination; it was even better when they called and said, ‘hey, you won,’ and State Farm was presenting it on our behalf to any nonprofit of our choice, so we selected Foundation for Better Schools, simply because we’ve done a lot of work with them,” she said.

Tierney and the Foundation for Better Schools team up regularly for their back-to-school backpack program, to ensure Upshur County students have access to meals on weekends or on holiday breaks.

“They support not only the teachers and the students via various opportunities and programs, but most specifically, the backpack program, which our office has worked on for a lot of years — and in fact, October is our fifth soup drive and in honor of that, we want to be able to donate 5,000 cans,” Tierney said. “The foundation specifically supports that ‘Go Wild, Feed a Child,’ food and backpack program for all Upshur County students, so that was our natural choice.”

The money is not marked for a specific project at this time, but the Foundation has been expanding the programs they help fund.

“The Foundation has been branching out into different areas, supporting some of the Fed Eberle students during a recent conference, some grants to the band as well, and [providing funds] to teachers, to get some additional equipment and supplies they need for their classroom,” Tierney said.

Nestor said they recently helped fund a trip to Huntington for Fred Eberle and they have also helped set up raffles for various school projects.

“We’ve done a couple of those for the swim team and for the choir to go to D.C., so we’re able to sponsor that and we just try to fund requests as they come in, so we’re open,” Nestor said. “If somebody wants to give us money, like for instance, something for technology, we have $1,800 that’s been given by people for technology in the school system, so if somebody comes in with some technology needed in a school, then we can use it for that, as long as we think it’s a valid purpose that can’t be funded some other way.”

Tierney said she thinks the community’s efforts last year to earn the $25,000 Good Neighbor Assist Grant helped earn this grant as well.

“Last year, the community came together and was awarded the $25,000 Good Neighbor Assist Grant, and it was specifically for the backpack program, and that took everyone voting. It took a lot of people voting, it took a lot of folks working the phones to get that support, so it was nice to recognize all their hard work by being awarded this $10,000 this year,” Tierney said.

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