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December 23, 2022
Contact: Annie Carbutt

IDAHO FALLS (ID) – Ball Ventures Legacy Foundation, a newly formed non-profit, recently donated funds to help offset student meal debt in school districts throughout the southeast Idaho region. The non-profit donated $5,000 to Madison School District #321, $5,000 to Jefferson School District #251, $20,000 to Idaho Falls School District #91, and $10,000 to Bonneville Joint School District #93.

With the ending of federal waivers that provided free school lunches to all K-12 students as part of COVID-19 assistance during the pandemic, many schools across the country are reporting amassing debt from students who eat school lunch but have failed to pay. Schools report that many parents are unaware that the universal lunch program has ended, leaving the schools to reach out to parents individually for payment and to remind them to fill out applications for school lunch assistance.

To qualify for assistance nationwide, a family of four must make less than $51,338 for reduced-price lunches and less than $36,075 for free lunches. Many families that don’t qualify for assistance are unable to afford school lunches.

“Each family has their individual story,” said Heather Plain, child nutrition director for Bonneville School District 93 in Idaho Falls. "As we’ve reached out to parents, we’ve learned that there are many different situations they are struggling with. Parents who just miss the eligibility cut-off are having to make difficult choices. Unfortunately, unpaid meal accounts cannot be covered with federal child nutrition funds. Our district must cover these with general district funds. This is a difficult thing because these funds need to be used for other areas in educating our students. Our goal is to feed every child and we will continue finding ways to support our families.”

The Ball Ventures Legacy Foundation saw the need for debt relief from student meals in the schools as an opportunity to provide support to schools and students who are struggling with tight finances. In addition to generous donations from the foundation itself, Ball Ventures employees contributed donations to the school districts from their personal funds as well. “We were inspired to start a foundation to address the needs in the communities in which we do business and where our employees live,” said Cortney Liddiard CEO of Ball Ventures. “We hope the foundation provides an opportunity to enhance lives and advance important projects that may not necessarily have adequate resources.”

Kari Campos, member of the board of directors for the Ball Ventures Legacy Foundation and Deputy General Counsel for Ball Ventures, was instrumental in the forming of the non-profit so the foundation could serve populations like low-income families with school-age children. “We needed a way to distribute funds directly to the people who need them most,” she said. “Creating a non-profit has given us a vehicle to make this happen. This will allow us to do even more good in our communities than we would be able to otherwise.”

Checks were distributed by the Ball Ventures Legacy Foundation to the individual school districts on December 22, just in time for the Christmas holiday and the close of the year.

About the Ball Ventures Legacy Foundation: The Ball Ventures Legacy Foundation applied for 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2022. The organization was created with the purpose of providing support to community causes and programs as a way of building communities and furthering the legacy of Ball Ventures.

About Ball Ventures: Ball Ventures is a commercial real estate and private equity company, which owns and manages 3.3 million square feet of commercial real estate across the U.S. Ball Ventures has a diversified real estate portfolio in office, retail, healthcare, hospitality, and student housing. Ball Ventures also has a private equity platform invested in various industries including auto dealerships, midstream oil, energy, private funds and other operating companies.
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