FWCS Foundation

“If I hadn’t started playing a music instrument, there would be no Sweetwater.”  

Chuck Surack, Founder and CEO of Sweetwater, graduate of Wayne High School

FWCS is making great progress in improving academic achievement and the Foundation Board works to ensure it is adequately funded to continue its success. Funds raised are used to invest in innovative programs that further increase academic results. The Foundation Board most recently raised funds for the "b Instrumental" program, which provides musical instruments to students in 7th through 12th grade and also provides small group instruction and summer music camps for students

The b Instrumental program was created to expand the number of students who have the opportunity to play a musical instrument. Research shows studying music benefits students’ cognitive and social development. The over 400 students now participating in the program have better attendance, higher test scores and fewer discipline issues than other students.

To learn more about this amazing program, please visit B-Instrumental


FWCS Foundation Mission:

To ensure FWCS has the funds, resources and relationships to provide enhanced educational opportunities for all students to become successful, productive citizens.

FWCS Foundation Vision:

For all FWCS students to have equity, access and excellence to empower them in becoming confident leaders.


The Fort Wayne Community Schools Foundation generates and distributes financial resources to support FWCS in achieving its mission to educate all students to high standards enabling them to become productive, responsible citizens. It is legally separate from FWCS and it recognized by the IRS as exempt under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Donations to the FWCS Foundation will be used to support educational programs that are proving to be successful. These include the b Instrumental Program and the Teacher Grant Program. The b Instrumental Program provides musical instruments to middle and high school students. The Teacher Grant Program encourages and recognizes innovative educational strategies in the classroom. Donations may also be unrestricted to fund innovation in new programs or educational tools that have the potential to help FWCS achieve academic improvements.



FWCS Foundation Board Members:

Tom Trent, President

Sarah Strimmenos, Treasurer

Michelle Kearns, Secretary

Brian Bauer

Cheri Becker

Kenny Bergle

Clifford Clarke

Rick Kinney

Pete Mallers

Dr. Scott Miller

Steve Piekarski

Kathy Rogers

Dan Ross

Paul Spoelhof

Dr. Mark Daniel, Ex-Officio

Director of PhilanthropyMitch Sheppard 

B-Instrumental Program ManagerBruce Schneider



Thank you Major Sponsors:

     Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater Sound, Inc.

     The Auer Foundation

      Ambassador Enterprises

      The James Foundation

     White Lodging

     Tim and Libby Ash Foundation

     AWS Foundation

     English Bonter Mitchell Foundation

     Parkview Health

     ProFed Credit Union

     Wilson Foundation

     Yergens Rogers Foundation



B instrumental kids

Music—the gift that gives back.

Research shows that investments in music education provide students with measurable benefits:
  • Improved memory and well-being
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Increased math proficiency by grade 12
  • An average increase of 63 points in verbal & 44 points in math on SAT tests
  • Higher graduation rates
Access to music education helps unlock opportunities for all.


Support music education in Fort Wayne and say, “I’m with the Band!”