Effort begins to strengthen programs, attract scholarship backers
The early 2000s saw the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce establish a Challenge Foundation that asked individuals and companies to donate money specifically for educational programs. The Foundation then lay dormant for many years, but the chamber is revitalizing the initiative in 2016.
“We are asking anyone interested in the educational well-being of Danville-Boyle County to help us, with all donations tax deductible since this is considered a charitable effort,” says Paula Fowler, Danville-Boyle County Chamber executive director. “There are many programs that the chamber backs, but we need underwriters.”
Those programs include a three-day summer Teacher Academy that brings together teachers and administrators who take three different half-day tours to local companies to learn about area businesses. Teachers observe several aspects of industry, including the fact that today’s manufacturing is cleaner, safer and more advanced than in the past.
“In addition, the Boyle County School System offers an Entrepreneurship Class to all students, and the chamber assists the schools by scheduling attorneys, accountants, insurance specialists and other mentors to speak with students on how to develop business plans,” Fowler says. “We are looking to add the Danville Independent School District to this program in the near future.”
Another mission of the Danville-Boyle County Challenge Foundation is establishing more college scholarships for students throughout the city and county.
“The program has never had a website, so www.chambereducation.org is now available for people to learn more,” Fowler says.
Broadband and Birthday Planning
In other chamber news, Fowler says efforts are continuing to establish broadband throughout the entire county.
“Some corners of Boyle County are in the hills and knobs and don’t have broadband reception, or if there is, it’s very expensive,” she says. “We currently have about 97 percent coverage in the county, but that other three percent is vital for students and companies to do online work from their homes.”
Fowler says the chamber is looking to the state of Kentucky to help, and she points out that a plan called Next Generation Kentucky Information Highway has been launched to extend high-speed broadband service to all 120 counties by 2018.
“And speaking of the future, the Danville-Boyle County Chamber will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019,” she says. “I know it’s a few years away, but we need to start planning on how we want to celebrate.”