Happy Thanksgiving from TRTA and TRTF!

Dear TRTA members and TRTF supporters,

At this time of year, we like to reflect on the great things we have accomplished together and show our appreciation to our members, friends, and supporters, all of whom are special to us!

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) Board of Directors and the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) Board of Trustees are so very thankful for the time you spend volunteering for TRTA and for donating to help fund TRTF’s many charitable programs.

So far, TRTF has raised $32,700 of its $100,000 fundraising goal!

We know this has been a challenging year. Our retirees have proven time and time again that they are resilient, dedicated, and motivated to keep the momentum going for our vital legislative advocacy efforts and much-needed charitable endeavors.

Though our members have not been able to meet in person, they have shifted to virtual communications in record time and remained focused not only on helping TRTA and TRTF succeed, but on the well-being of their fellow retired educators. Our members have big hearts and open arms. They truly care about each other. We hope all of you are as proud as we are to have achieved so much this year despite the unusual circumstances.

As I sit back and read the third quarter issue of The VOICE that was published this month, I am impressed. How joyful it is to read about first-year educators—related to members of TRTA—who are pursuing their inaugural year of teaching with passion and determination! There is also a story about an educator who has introduced unique projects to his students four times with TRTF’s help.

Then there are our wonderful local units! They have been renewing members and encouraging new members to join—all without the aid of having in-person meetings. They keep on working so TRTA can reach 100,000 members. Several sent in anecdotes telling us how they are innovating their meetings this fall and hosting events via Zoom (see pages 10 and 11 of The VOICE).

TRTA also launched an app this year! Members can communicate with one another through the app, make new connections, participate in forums, and find all of the latest TRTA news there.

TRTF has started a major new program this year, too: the TRTF Tutor Program! With this one program, TRTF helps three groups of people: parents and students looking for affordable online tutoring services; retirees who want to earn supplemental income as online tutors; and public-school teachers and school districts that are seeking dependable tutoring help for their students.

If you had asked me at the beginning of 2020 how the year would proceed, I would not have guessed that our convention and local unit meetings would have been cancelled, that Zoom would become a part of our daily lives, or that our districts would be conducting fall conferences virtually. I would not have guessed that our schools would close in March, that virtual and hybrid education models would become prevalent for all schools in the nation, or that the TRTF Board and our amazing TRTA staff would work harder and faster than ever to respond to the needs of our public schools and Texas students with the best online tutoring program in the state!

We still face the unexpected as 2021 draws near: how will the Texas Legislature conduct its business? How will funding for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund and health care plans be addressed? How will we meet with legislators to ensure that our voices are heard and that the retirement security of Texas public educators is prioritized?

No matter how the Legislature chooses to do its job in 2021, TRTA is ready to do ours by working with all Texas Senators and Representatives to protect your interests.

I believe that educators are the foundation for everything good that happens in our great state. Educators make things happen! I believe in our members, and because of you, I believe we will succeed against all odds and we will find innovative ways to accomplish our goals. Together, TRTA and TRTF will work towards improving the lives of all educators in any and every way that we can.

How the Foundation is Helping Others During the Pandemic

If you or a retiree you know is in need of financial assistance this holiday season, please email the Foundation’s “A Helping Hand” program at help@trtf.org. TRTF has assisted many retirees with home repairs, dental work, hearing aids, medical bills, space heaters and much more! Likewise, if you or a retiree you know could use some financial assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, please call 1.800.880.1650 and ask for Sarah or send an email to help@trtf.org to request an application.

If you know of a classroom teacher who is hoping to fund a great project for his or her students and is wondering where to find the money to accomplish this goal, have them apply for one of our forty available Classroom Assistance Grants. Download the application here.

If you have a family member or even a friend of the family who is about to graduate from college and plans to teach for the very first time in the fall of 2021, let them know about our Beginning Teacher Scholarship program. We may be able to assist them in paying for certification tests or supplies for their first classroom. TRTF has twenty-five scholarships to give. Download the application here.

If you are a retired teacher looking to supplement your income through the TRTF Tutor Program, please visit the Foundation website to learn more and sign up.

Please Donate Today

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, TRTF’s programs have become more important than ever. Our school children, teachers, and retirees need our help! As a 501(c)(3), we are in a unique position to raise donations and deploy them through our unique charitable programs. We are determined to help!

Please consider making your tax-deductible charitable contribution to TRTF today as part of our annual fundraising drive. You may donate online here or call 1.800.880.1650 and ask for Sarah.

The third quarter issue of The VOICE also featured several special articles about the Foundation, along with TRTF’s annual appeal letter and donation card. You can mail in your donation using the pre-paid envelope included with your issue.

There are more than 90,000 members of TRTA. If we all give a little, we could do a lot! Foundation Month is your opportunity to make a difference for a retiree who could use a little help to get by or recover from a disaster, for a classroom teacher who needs funds to create a unique learning opportunity for his or her students, or for a new teacher brimming with enthusiasm who needs help setting up their very first classroom.

Thank you for reading the Inside Line throughout the month of November as we updated you on TRTF’s programs and shared stories from individual program recipients. We hope you have enjoyed reading about the many educators the past, present, and future whose lives you have made better through your generosity.

Thank you as well for the opportunity you have given all of us to serve as your TRTA representatives. We are all deeply grateful to our members for everything that they do to support this great organization.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Tim Lee
TRTA Executive Director

Mary Nell Short
TRTF Board President

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