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Grace brings new energy to Engage BA program

When Broken Arrow schools created a new position of community development coordinator two years ago, no one could fathom the position would be key to not only the district’s fundraising efforts, but also to introduce the business world to Amanda Grace.

An avid volunteer for years in the school system, Grace jumped at the chance to do more when she was hired as community development coordinator, already serving in many organizations including BA PTA Council and the BAPS Foundation.

“I knew it was for me,” said Grace. “I consider myself incredibly lucky to be the one chosen to get to do what I do every day. I love my job, my school district and my community.”

While the community engagement component has existed in some form or another over the years at BAPS, Grace’s re-branding of the program as Engage BA has catapulted the experience beyond traditional programs where schools simply ask for donations from businesses.

“We focus on relationships first, ensuring that our community feels like an extension of our classrooms,” said Grace. “Engage BA continues to grow community engagement events, encompasses volunteering, mentoring, donation, sponsoring and workforce development opportunities.

Seeing no limits for Engage BA’s potential, Grace hopes to grow the program even more with expanded volunteers, community members giving more resources to students and additional events that create giving opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

“When the community engages, the impact is immeasurable,” said Grace. “I firmly believe that with both the school system and community working together in harmony, not only can we create unlimited opportunities for our children to realize their potential, but we can also make Broken Arrow a place where our students want to stay.”

In Grace’s first year on the job, she helped generate more than $78,000 in cash and in-kind donations. And during year two on the job, Grace managed to beat the odds of a pandemic by generating revenue of more than $130,000 with cash and in-kind donations—a figure that shows the resilience of a community even in the face of adversity.

“Truthfully, our community has blown me away this past year. Engage BA has grown leaps and bounds in the middle of a pandemic, and it is 100% because Broken Arrow cares about our students,” said Grace. “I am so grateful to get to be the one to work with such an incredible community every day.”

To learn more about the Engage BA program, visit www.baschools.org/engageba, and to donate, visit www.baschools.org/give.