Giving a Little to Make a Big Difference

Ginger Franks is the regional membership specialist for Regions 5, 6, and 7. She is also an ATPE past state president and former special education teacher.

Giving to ATPE-PAC is something I do continually, and I have some great memories about my giving.

I must admit, the first year the amount I donated had to do with how much I had to give to get the flashy, gem-studded ATPE pin. That pin really is pretty! The next few years were just bare minimum because East Texas teachers’ salaries aren’t the best and raising three kids does cost a bit. But I gave as much as I felt like I could and loved knowing that the little bit I did give, combined with everyone else’s giving, would add up to make a difference for public schools.

I remember one year I gave a little more than normal. It was a legislative session year, and ATPE-PAC was having an auction the day before ATPE at the Capitol. One of the items was an ATPE blanket. I really liked the blanket, and they kept saying it was the only one left—the only opportunity to ever get one. I knew I was planning on giving around $150 to ATPE-PAC, so I thought, “How perfect.” Another member thought the same thing, and the bidding began. At $200 my husband tugged on me and said, “Ginger, what are you doing?” My response was, “I want that blanket.” Three hundred dollars later, the blanket hangs on the chair I am sitting in now, typing this. For several years there was a blanket at every auction. Guess they happened to find a few more! But hopefully there were other members who felt the same way I did about the blanket and gave extra to PAC.

I happened to be on the Legislative-PAC Committee the year of the first ATPE Summit. We discussed wanting to roll out a fun campaign for it. Several weeks later, I awoke during the night and had the idea of the name “PAC’s Peak” and reaching the top with a certain amount of giving. I immediately got up and emailed my idea (at 2:00 in the morning) to the ATPE Governmental Relations staff. When my husband woke up, I told him my idea, and he denies this, but he said that he thought it wasn’t that great of an idea. I thought, “Wonderful. I already sent the email.” At the next ATPE Board of Directors meeting, it was announced that they were using PAC’s Peak for the summit. And it was very successful! So, over the years when I have encouraged members to give, I take a little pride in knowing that the “Peak” is reached each year.

I love my giving stories. I encourage you to make your own stories. As educators in public schools, it is more important than ever to make sure the correct message is heard at the Capitol. The reality is, a major way to do that is with dollars. We must support the campaigns of candidates and officeholders who will share our priorities for Texas students. One educator alone usually can’t give enough to make a difference, but all putting in our little bit together does. Do it for your students and your career. It would be awesome if that Peak kept getting higher.

Thank you for giving, and be sure to share your stories to encourage others to give as well.

To donate to ATPE-PAC, visit Our annual PAC’s Peak challenge runs from February 1 to May 1, and we’re committed to raising $20,000.

ATPE-PAC solicits contributions only from ATPE members, employees, and their families. Participation in ATPE-PAC is voluntary. Members can contribute any amount or nothing at all without affecting their ATPE membership status, rights, or benefits.
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