Whitehouse ISD awards up to $36,000 with annual Wildcat Den “Shark Tank-style” event


WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KETK) – The Whitehouse ISD Education Foundation hosted their second annual Wildcat Den on Saturday, April 24.

The WISDEF awards up to $36,000 in a Shark Tank-style grant event. At the event, grant applicants give live pitches to a panel of judges who then decide winners within hours.

In 2020, the Wildcat Den expanded the WISDEF Programs beyond written applications that are graded by groups of judges and awarded after a month.

Applicants for Wildcat Den completed an abbreviated version of the written application, but the bulk of the information was shared with the panel of judges at Wildcat Den.

Each applicant gave a six-minute presentation followed by a four-minute question-and-answer session from the judges.

“As our funding increased, so did the desire to award funds in ways other than written
applications,” said Ginger Cardwell, Board Chair of WISDEF. “We were introduced to
the idea of a Shark Tank-style competition a few years ago and knew it would fit well
with Whitehouse ISD.”

One change between the fall grant cycle and Wildcat Den is that there is no cap for money requested.

A grant is limited to $2,000 for an individual or $5,000 for a group. Applicants can ask for any amount between $2,000 to $36,000.

“Even in a year with so much uncertainty in fundraising we’ve been able to stay on track with giving
away $100,000 as we did last year,” Cardwell said.

Last year, Wildcat Den funded five different projects including book vending machines at all WISD elementary schools and the Holloway Sixth Grade campus.

Faculty and staff recognize students who embody the Whitehouse ISD Portrait of a Graduate traits:

  • Responsible Citizen
  • Creative problem solver
  • Effective communicator
  • Self-directed learner
  • Humble collaborator
  • Adaptable
  • Empathetic
  • Confident

Students who embody these traits are awarded a token to use in the vending machine to select a book that is theirs to keep.

Another project that was funded was a joint project between the Agriculture Science Department and the Culinary Arts Department at Whitehouse High School. Funds were used to purchase 17 large concrete raised bed gardens to grow food for the culinary students and flowers for the horticulture students.

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