The Sun Prairie Business and Education Partnership (BEP) started in 1990 with a small budget and one or two projects each year. Every project that BEP has sponsored has come from a teacher/administrator who saw a need to get the business community involved. As an example, several years ago Jill Bandli came to the Board with the idea of Reading Buddies. In the program, a community member is partnered with a first grade classroom and reads to them once each month. This program started out with 8 classes being adopted. This year we now have 26 classes that have been paired and our goal is to have 30 classes next year. Again, this idea came from a Sun Prairie classroom teachers.
Many people confuse the two organizations, the Foundation and the BEP. The Foundation has been in existence for ten years and provides grants to teachers who have ideas for projects that are outside of their normal budget. Last year the Foundation was able to award $40,000 in grants. BEP, however, is the group that doesn't hand out money, but instead provides personnel to carry out projects.