Toms River Education Foundation Donates $10k to District Athletics

TREF check photo
From left to right, Toms River Regional Schools Athletic Director Ted Gillen, Toms River Education Foundation President and High School East teacher Erin Cosentino, and TREF Vice President and current TRRS Board Member Jennifer Howe pose for a photo after the TREF donated $10k to Gillen's high school athletics teams.

Jan. 14, 2021-- Toms River Regional Schools Athletics Department received a $10,000 donation from the Toms River Education Foundation to purchase uniforms for student-athletes at each of the three district high schools.

“This donation is the first of what the foundation expects to be many donations to ensure Toms River Regional Schools students receive a well-rounded education,” said TREF President and district teacher Erin Cosentino.

The upstart foundation-- formed by Toms River Councilmember Terrance Turnbach-- hit the ground running, literally, by hosting a 5k race in downtown Toms River this past fall. The organization is led by a collection of local leaders—TRRS alumni, teachers, current and former district and township leaders, and local business owners—committed to fulfilling a mission of fostering student participation in extracurricular and school-based programs to enhance overall academic excellence and life skills.

“This foundation was founded on the principle that extra-curricular school activities are as critical to a student’s educational experience as lessons learned in the classroom,” said Cosentino. “Lessons learned outside the classroom promote team building, responsibility, critical thinking and problem solving."

This sizable donation to the athletics department comes at a critical time for the district, which continues to bear the financial burden of State Bill S2 and its adverse impact on staffing, resources, sports, and extracurriculars. TRRS continues its fight against the bill, and notched a small victory last week in its lawsuit against the state when courts ordered the NJDOE to release the financial details of its funding formula. In the meantime, the district welcomes the support.

“As a result of the school budget cuts caused by the S2 funding formula, this foundation is working tirelessly to ensure that Toms River Regional School District students have every opportunity to participate in the extracurricular school-based activities that interest them,” said TREF Vice President and Toms River School Board Member Jennifer Howe. “No child should be left out from participating in the arts or sports because of an inability of the child’s family to pay, or an inability of the school district to fund.

“This foundation will continue to raise money to support our students,” Howe added.

In fact, the next fundraising event is already planned. At the Office Lounge in Toms River Jan. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., a mention of the Toms River Education Foundation during an eat-in or take-order will result in 15 percent of proceeds going toward the foundation.

"We look forward to many successful events and raising funds to support the students of TRRS," the foundation wrote in a statement.

In addition to Cosentino, Howe, and Turnbach (secretary), the TREF Board includes Michael Horgan (treasurer, former TRRS board member); Nicholas Pagano; Dana Tormollan DeRome; and Bill Rankin.

“This is not only a welcome contribution that will ease the financial burden of providing some much-needed equipment and apparel for our student athletes," said district Athletic Director Ted Gillen, "but it is also a statement from our Toms River community that reflects its support of extracurricular athletics and its place in the lives of our children and their education.”

The district thanks TREF for its generous donation.