Letter From The Founder

Fund for Teachers is the brainchild of Raymond Plank, founder and retired chairman of the board of Houston-based Apache Corporation. Mr. Plank best describes the "why" of creating the nonprofit organization.

"Growing up in the Midwest, the most important influence in my life other than my father was a man named Noah Foss. He was a Latin teacher, a towering figure who inspired, challenged and motivated countless young men at the small country day school I attended in the 1930s. But for Foss, who gave me the focus and self-respect I needed, I wouldn't have received an honors score on my college entrance exams. And, almost certainly, I never would have gone to Yale.

There are many Noah Fosses in this country; teachers who each day inspire, challenge and shape young lives in countless ways. More than a decade ago I began a modest grant program in Minnesota to reward deserving grades preK-12 teachers who wanted a chance to enhance their skills, stimulate their minds, and bring new-found excitement back into the classroom. A chance to study volcanoes in Hawaii. Architecture in Florence. Language in Chile. Literacy in New York City.

Today, that modest grant program is responsible for supporting 5,500 teachers’ personal and professional growth. Fund for Teachers rewards promise, creativity and dedication. Our grants are based solely on merit. And they reflect a goal my father often spoke of - to make this world a little better off than it was before."

Raymond Plank