Mapleton Education Foundation

The Mapleton Education Foundation (MEF) plays an instrumental role in supporting the district; however, I was embarrassed to admit that I never knew the full extent of the Foundation’s support and dedication to Mapleton students. That’s why when MEF’s Executive Director of Funding Elise Kersey, and the Executive Director of Scholarships, Thomas Hernandez, reached out to me to assist in the final day of student scholarship interviews, I jumped at the chance!


The Foundation’s mission is to nurture the greatness in every student by affording opportunities and supplying necessary resources to turn dreams into reality. MEF provides access to post-secondary education through scholarships, fosters creativity and innovation in the classroom, and engages community support. The Foundation operates on the belief that the basic difference between those who achieve greatness and those who might have been great is one thing: opportunity.


One of the most impactful ways MEF provides opportunity to the students of Mapleton is through its student scholarship program. To ensure that every student interested in pursuing postsecondary education has access to postsecondary education, the MEF provides scholarships to high-need, high-potential Mapleton students. Most scholarship recipients are the first in their families to attend college. This year, the Foundation awarded $260,000 to 36 seniors who will begin college in the fall.


Scholarship awards range from $1,000 – $5,000 per year for 2-4 years. Important partners like the Metropolitan State University of Denver, Front Range Community College Foundation and Colorado School of Mines provide matching funds for MEF scholarship recipients. MEF works closely with these local colleges/universities to foster partnerships that are focused on supporting students as the transition to college.


The day I attended, students were interviewing for the Ratkovich Memorial Scholarship and the Rufien Family Teacher’s Scholarship. Ron Ratkovich was a longtime science teacher and golf coach in Mapleton and was enthusiastic in encouraging students to engage in the lifelong experiences and lessons that science and golf could provide both inside and outside of the classroom. The Rufien Family Teacher’s Scholarship provides graduating Mapleton seniors with a specific interest in pursuing a degree in education, financial support to further their educational goals beyond high school.


Both Elise and Thomas highlighted the crucial role those in the district played throughout the student scholarship process, stating “we are so grateful to the staff and volunteers who participated in the scholarship review process, we appreciate you taking the time to learn more about our students and their truly impressive stories.”


The amazing work the Foundation is doing in the district is not often displayed but I’m thrilled that I could get a closer look at how MEF is able to provide opportunity to students for them to access their post-secondary aspirations. To learn more about MEF, visit their website here: