Through an article published in 2011 in our local newspaper, The News Transcript, Barry Tobias learned about the work of the Freehold Borough Educational Foundation. Barry did not live in Freehold Borough, or have any ties to our community. He had, in fact, been supporting the education foundation in his neighboring town, Manalapan Township. Although Manalapan is an affluent town, Mr. Tobias had offered substantial funding through the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, which he represented.
He learned through the newspaper article that Freehold Borough, though struggling financially, had an education foundation that made a big impact with limited resources. The article noted FBEF had awarded $1,500 to the school district to bring a musical program to Freehold Borough students. Mr. Tobias knew this was a program he and his foundation could easily have funded. So he reached out to the FBEF to offer support. Thus began a long relationship with the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and Mr. Tobias and his wife, Star, and their family.
Mr. Tobias became not only a generous supporter of FBEF, but a mentor as well. He provided several challenge grants to help the organization grow its funding base. The board of trustees worked hard to successfully meet – and often exceed — each challenge. Mr. Tobias also provided restricted funds for several programs to ensure continuity. Not only were funds provided from the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, but Mr. and Mrs. Tobias also gave from their private funds and connected the FBEF to several other funders and donors. It is because of Mr. Tobias’s commitment that all children — despite their circumstances or zip code — deserve the resources to reach their educational potential that FBEF moved beyond just underwriting mini-grants and began to institute so many of its programs.
Programs funded by the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Tobias include: Kindergarten and First grade violins and violin lessons, the bicycle safety program for all Fourth Graders, “Book Bucks” and the Star and Barry Tobias Cultural Enrichment Fund.
Because of their support for the Freehold Borough Schools, especially in music, the Tobias family attends all winter and spring concerts at the schools and are thanked and recognized at each event.
Moreover, Mr. Barry Tobias also initiated FBEF’s philanthropy and grant-writing seminar. The students have found a way through this program to support and, in some case, repay the kindness of others. The Freehold borough schools and students are not wealthy, bit they have learned the value of supporting charities for the good work they do. This lesson will provide life-long learning to our students.
The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation has now closed its doors, but Mr. Barry Tobias, his wife, Star, and daughters Jennifer and Michele still attend our concerts and offer financial support. Barry is still leading our philanthropy seminar and funding has kept our programs going. The FBEF has grown because of his involvement and support.