Former West York teacher leaves funds for Innovation Lab

Alyssa Jackson
  • Doris Schwartz, an educator with West York Area School District, died in 2013.
  • With the establishment of the Doris E. Schwartz Education Fund, an innovation lab will be created.
  • The lab will foster collaboration among teachers in all school districts in the county.

Doris Schwartz, a former teacher in West York Area School District, died in 2013, but her legacy continues through the Doris E. Schwartz Education Fund, which recently approved a $200,000 grant to help create an innovation lab.

The grant money will go to Lincoln Intermediate Unit (LIU) 12, an organization that aids with special education.

The grant to LIU 12 is meant to foster an inclusive and collaborative environment for teachers in the county, according to a news release about the project. LIU 12 and the York County Community Foundation have partnered to create the lab, according to the release from the foundation.

According to the release, the grant will create a forum for teachers in all school districts to get together and work in project teams to solve real-world problems. The teams will be nominated by the school districts, go through an application process and receive funding to help them as they work on innovative approaches to the problems they'd like to solve.

Former West York educator Doris Schwartz poses for a photo.

“Thanks to Doris Schwartz’s legacy, we have been given the opportunity to partner with YCCF to create a forum where innovative educational practices can be ignited, strategically distributed, and thrive in the Innovation Lab,” Jody L. Nace, Innovation Lab project lead and assistant executive director for LIU, said in the news release.

Schwartz was a teacher in West York before becoming a flight attendant and enjoyed traveling around the world. After she died in 2013 in her 90s, the education fund was created by her friends and executors, Nancy Frey and Kenneth Smith, as well as Schwartz's attorney, John Stitt.

“Doris was greatly inspired by her personal educational achievements, amplified by her world travels,” said Stitt in the release. “Her experiences, internationally, induced her to bring her world view back home and channel it to inspire locals to ‘think bigger’ than they otherwise might. The Community Foundation was the perfect tool with which to create her unique legacy.”

The Doris E. Schwartz Education Fund was created with a $3.4 million gift to the foundation from her estate. The fund also has provided $52,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from 13 school districts in the county in the last two years.

“The grant to LIU from the Doris E. Schwartz Education Fund has the potential to create a culture of innovation that could transform the education system in York County," said Jane Conover, foundation president, in the news release. "We are so grateful to Doris, her attorney, John Stitt, and the executors of her will for making a gift that can create long-term systemic change.”