Created in November 1989, Pine Cay Project is a charitable organization that coordinates the efforts of members of the Pine Cay community to encourage and support educational excellence in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Pine Cay Project began in response to the plea of Raymond Gardiner High School (North Caicos) for books and other teaching materials and equipment. Civic leaders on Pine Cay collected donated books and funds from Pine Cay residents and friends to respond to this request. As new donations permitted, Pine Cay Project extended its reach to all the primary schools of North Caicos and Middle Caicos. Additional donations allowed the Project to provide educational materials to schools on other TCI islands. During the summers of 1993 and 1994, Pine Cay itself became a laboratory for Island high school students and teachers, when Pine Cay Project hosted Science Festival, a week of hands-on studies in biology and ecology.
Building on these successes, Pine Cay Project decided to concentrate its resources on improving student literacy. Cooperating with local government and a local liaison committee, Pine Cay Project worked with educators and families on North Caicos to build the Pine Cay Project Reading Laboratory on government land between Adelaide Oemler Primary School and Raymond Gardiner High School. To staff the lab, Pine Cay Project in 1996 hired a Reading/Writing Specialist who worked with North Caicos teachers to improve instruction in those subjects.
In 2000, Pine Cay Project began requesting applications from interested schools and other organizations throughout the TCI. From these applications, Pine Cay Project trustees selected promising educational projects and provided financial support for them in the form of grants. Under the Project’s current operational design, it invites schools and other educational organizations in the TCI to submit plans for educational improvement projects or initiatives for which they need financial assistance. Applicants explain in writing how their planned activity will improve the knowledge and skills of the students they serve, how they will oversee their grant-supported activities, and what educational growth they expect as a result. Applicants know in advance that, if they receive a grant, they must report back to the Project on how their grant activity was implemented and how they used their grant money.
Since initiating this method of selecting grantees and monitoring grants, Pine Cay Project has seen steady progress in the quality of applications and in grantees’ follow-up reports. In visits to TCI institutions that have received Project grants, Project trustees have observed educators, students, and community leaders working hard to improve youth and adult learning.
From 2002 through 2018, Pine Cay Project has dispersed $1,029,473 in grants, reaching students on every island in the TCI and students from preschool through community college. Grants have supported educational improvements in reading, mathematics, science, music, visual art, and athletics.
Board of Trustees
Pine Cay Project is governed by a board of trustees. While the trustees come from diverse corporate and education-related backgrounds, they share first-hand knowledge of the TCI and a deep commitment to improving educational opportunities throughout these islands. The trustees are Margaret Baczkowski, David Bowen, Marie Yvonne Landel, Carlton Mills, Elizabeth Pickman, Joanna Prentice, and E. Jay Saunders.
The trustees carry out all decision-making and administrative duties of Pine Cay Project as volunteers. The organization has no paid staff.
Pine Cay Project is a not-for-profit charitable organization authorized under the laws of the United States and operating in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Under U.S. law, Pine Cay Project is a qualified nonprofit organization, with a federal ID number of #341703337. In accordance with its U.S. nonprofit status, Pine Cay Project submits a Form 990 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service annually. Copies of those filings are available upon request. Abbreviated annual balance sheets are included in Pine Cay Project’s annual newsletter.
Because it has no paid staff, Pine Cay Project can keep administrative costs very, very low. This permits Pine Cay Project to use almost all of its funds for grants awarded to TCI schools and other agencies and organizations. All grant recipients are accountable to Pine Cay Project for the proper use of the grant funds they receive.