Foundations Funding Education
Education foundations exist to help provide funding for vital school programs not funded by the State. The foundations, comprised primarily of parent volunteers, strive to put the needs of their students and school districts first. Without them many classes and programs would not exist as they do today. We speak with representatives from Del Mar Schools Education Foundation (DMSEF) and Solana Beach Schools Foundation (SBSF) to learn how they aid their districts, which are largely comprised of 92130 students. We also speak to the foundations of local high schools, the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation (CCAF) and Torrey Pines High School Foundation (TPHSF). 92130 Magazine offers insight on how each provides educational opportunities for 92130 students by funding programs that make a lasting impact.
Q & A with DMSEF President Ty Humes
What was the inspiration for the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation?
The motivation behind the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation is to provide the funding of the compensation packages for the STEAM+, formerly known as Extended Studies Curriculum, program’s specialists for all eight schools in the Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD).
What is the mission of DMSEF?
The overall mission of DMSEF is to provide ongoing support for the STEAM+ initiative that reflects the DMUSD’s commitment to the education and development of the whole child. Our district’s goal is that all students have the opportunity to develop their individuality and learn to communicate their thinking while developing an understanding of the world around them. We fulfill that mission through the creation and subsequent execution of a comprehensive parent-driven and community-assisted fundraising program.
Approximately how many students from Carmel Valley does DMSEF serve?
Well over 95% if not higher.
Please explain the importance of STEAM+ for students.
The DMSEF and the DMUSD have implemented a new program that is called STEAM+. The STEAM+ programs are science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.
The plus sign symbolizes how the program is inclusive of music, physical education, and enrichment programs. These programs are extremely important because of our district’s utilization of teachers who are credentialed specialists that work in conjunction with classroom teachers to enhance the core curriculum and provide students with opportunities to learn through exploration, experimentation, and creativity.
How can someone help contribute to the foundation?
There are two primary avenues for those interested to provide support. First is that at any time, a contribution is welcome and can be made directly to the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation. Second is to become a board member. Each of the eight schools has at least two board members representing and thus voting on behalf of their respective schools. All board members have to have a child enrolled in school in the district – thus, we are all parent volunteers.
Please tell us more about your board of directors.
The board members are all parent volunteers who currently have children in the school district. Each school has at least two board members, thus receiving two votes within the board infrastructure. Unlike some foundation boards, the DMSEF does not have any paid directors. The directors representing their respective schools are charged with managing the communication and execution of their campus events while working in conjunction with the collective district message.
Does your foundation hold fundraisers throughout the year?
The DMSEF does hold fundraisers throughout the school year. Each school has its own legacy and campus-specific fundraisers. An example of this would be seven of the eight schools having jog-a-thons and one having a pajama jam. Also, one of our schools does a parking spot auction which raises over $3,000 per parking spot. DMSEF now also holds two district-wide fundraisers.
What are your long-term and short-term goals for DMSEF?
Our long-term goal for the DMSEF is to maintain a fundraising level of $1.5 million per year from parental contributions and $500,000 per year from our business partnerships for a total of $2 million per year. The short-term goals are for maximum participation per school in the continued development of all campus-specific fundraising events.
How has DMSEF evolved over the years?
We have been able to augment this foundation not only in terms of financial support but also family participation. Today we have 70% of the families contributing. We have also implemented a business partnership program that is now in its second year and growing steadily, as well as a full board of directors, with three schools at one time having three directors each.
What are you looking forward to the most in regard to this upcoming year?
In regard to the upcoming year, I am looking forward to three things the most. First is the implementation and excitement around the STEAM+ program and the opportunity for us to augment our fundraising initiatives around this paradigm shift for our children’s stellar education. Second is the continued growth and impact of our business partnership program and its role in raising funds for STEAM+. Third is the pleasure of working with a board of directors which will have over 60% new directors who have very young children in the school system. This will allow for us to re-establish the legacies on each campus that made our foundation one of the best.
At-A-Glance | Del Mar Schools Education Foundation
Q & A with with SBSF President Jackie Teague
What was the inspiration for the Solana Beach Schools Foundation?
The Solana Beach Schools Foundation was established in 1986 to raise funds to support and enhance the education of students in the Solana Beach School District (SBSD). At that time there was – and continues to be – a gap in what public funds pay for and the full cost of providing the educational opportunities we want students in our district to have.
What is the mission of SBSF?
The mission of SBSF is to raise funds to bridge the gap between vital school needs and State funding to enrich the public education of all students in the SBSD. SBSF raises funds to help pay for instructional staff, materials, and equipment for discovery labs at our schools. Donations allow students to receive hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, research, engineering, art, and math (STREAM), as well as supplemental instruction in physical education.
How can members of the community get involved and help?
There are three key ways to help: contribute to SBSF, volunteer at the school or district levels, and learn about who SBSF is and what we do and share that information with fellow parents, friends, neighbors, and members of the community.
Approximately how many students from Carmel Valley does SBSF serve?
Percent district enrollment attending SBSD schools in Carmel Valley is 55%.
Can you highlight any upcoming significant dates?
When students return to school at the end of August, a new year begins for them and for us at foundation. The district will be introducing new components of its STREAM initiative and we’ll be right in there fundraising to ensure that the schools have what they need to implement them fully.
Later in the fall, Skyline and Solana Vista Elementary schools will host the annual Halloween Carnival, a huge tradition in that community that has been going on for more than 40 years. The carnival, as always, is open to all. It is a wonderful family event!
Please tell us more about your board of directors.
Our board members hail from a variety of professional backgrounds and bring a breadth and depth of skills and experience to the table. As a board, our primary responsibility is fiduciary. In addition, individual board members have special roles. Every school is represented by a team of two site presidents who oversee fundraising at their schools. Site presidents manage the Annual Fund Drive and are supported by event chairs for other SBSF fundraising events.
Our members-at-large serve in a variety of capacities. They head up and serve on board committees, participate in school district task forces, and provide advice on numerous topics as needed. Our executive committee, which includes SBSF Executive Director Patti Malmuth, oversees SBSF business and studies issues facing the foundation to present to the full board for discussion.
What are your long-term and short-term goals for SBSF?
I strive to maintain and build SBSF’s positive partnership with the SBSD. I would like to see the foundation continue to focus support on the school district’s STREAM initiative. I also look forward to working on expanding our donor base and exploring special projects and opportunities with major donors. I would really like to broaden our volunteer base to ensure that all parts of our incredibly diverse school community are represented and that all voices and ideas are heard.
How has SBSF evolved over the years?
It began with a small group of parents who saw funding gaps and knew the only way to fill them was to step up and start something. Over the years, the small group became more organized. Policies and procedures were put in place to safeguard the integrity and long-term well-being of the organization as a 501(c)(3). A few years ago we hired Executive Director Patti Malmuth, who demonstrates her depth of knowledge about education and nonprofit management in every conversation, every suggestion, and every decision. When Solana Ranch Elementary opened its doors in 2014, it elected to establish a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), which we brought under our umbrella.
What are you looking forward to the most in the upcoming year?
I am really looking forward to seeing what our students will be learning and experiencing through the STREAM initiative. As we head into year two of STREAM, schools have incredible plans to revamp discovery lab spaces and bring new curriculum units to students at all grade levels.
SBSF is also proud to help fund the district’s new, full-time STREAM Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) at each school. The STREAM TOSAs will coordinate STREAM at each site, teach classes, and help develop curriculum for the Next Generation Science Standards.
At-A-Glance | Solana Beach Schools Foundation
Q & A with CCAF President Carolyn Cohen
What was the inspiration for the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation?
A dedicated group of parents formed the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation to provide funding for programs that the school district could not afford and to enhance programs by providing additional funding. There is a common misconception that because CCA is located in a neighborhood with relatively high property values that our district is one of the highest funded in the county. The reality is that of the six high school districts in San Diego County, our district had the lowest funding according to statistics provided by the California Department of Education.
What is the overall mission of CCAF?
The mission of the CCAF is to enrich the experience of every student, every day. We fulfill our mission by funding the many programs and needs of the school that are not covered by the school district and by bringing in programs that support our mission. These programs include guest speakers; athletics and arts camps; SAT and ACT test preparation programs from a variety of providers; Grad Nite, a safe graduation experience; parent presentations on selecting and paying for college. We also assist the school in scheduling parent volunteers as needed to support their needs.
Approximately how many 92130 students does CCAF serve?
More than half of the students at CCA are from the Carmel Valley area.
What is your role with the foundation?
I am the CCAF Executive Director. I am part of a staff of three, which includes our finance manager and administrator, both of whom work part-time. As a staff we process all the donations, revenue, and expenses. We create and manage fundraising events, manage the camps, clinics, speakers, and other foundation enrichment programs. We process thousands of transactions each year and carefully follow the best practices and laws regarding 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations, working in partnership with our CCAF board directors.
How can someone help contribute to the foundation?
We welcome volunteers at all levels, from one-time volunteers to those chairing our annual gala. We have a great board and are always looking for qualified directors. We encourage parents who are new to CCA to go to our foundation website or speak with a current board member to find out more about being a part of CCAF.
What is most exciting about being a part of the foundation?
By far the best thing about the foundation is working with the students. These are some of the brightest, most hardworking, and most talented young people you will ever find. It makes coming to work a delightful experience. As far as the biggest challenge, certainly trying to top our fundraising goals each year is both exciting and challenging. We want to fund everything we can for this school and this staff but we can only do it if we raise enough money each year.
Does CCAF hold fundraisers throughout the year?
We have our big fundraiser, our gala, in May which raises over $100,000 each year for each of our designated giving programs (athletics, Envision, QUEST, and Ravens Fund). Additionally we hold an annual Oktoberfest for the athletics general fund, a Science Night for QUEST, and a Season Pass Program for Envision. Each discipline and sport also plans smaller fundraisers, which are often created and managed through the efforts of the parents and students in that sport or discipline.
What are your long-term and short-term goals for CCAF?
Our long and short-term goals will always center on our mission to enrich the experience of every student, every day. Nonprofits are always the most successful when everything they do is mission-focused. On a specific numbers goal for this year, we want to increase the number of parents who give and the percentage of parent donations each year, fully fund each of our programs, and continue a successful partnership with the school administration and school staff.
How has CCAF evolved over the years?
The CCAF has evolved from an all-volunteer organization run from board directors’ homes and a P.O. Box to what it is today: a fully staffed, on-site office with individuals who have professional experience working in the nonprofit sector. We have evolved from a few thousand dollars in revenue in summer enrichment programs to over $100,000 in 2015. Overall we have raised over $1,000,000 in total annual revenue in each of the last two years.
What are you looking forward to the most in regards to this upcoming year?
We are very excited about our gala this year, Venice: Unmasked. Our Envision teachers are planning to weave this Renaissance theme throughout their curriculum, and our fundraising events will also support the theme. Look for our Art: Uncorked event on Oct. 10. Guests will enjoy delicious wine and food while attending a painting workshop with one of our amazing painting teachers.
At-A-Glance | Canyon Crest Academy Foundation
Name: Canyon Crest Academy Foundation
President: Carolyn Cohen
Executive Director: Joanne Couvrette
Phone Number: 858-350-0253 Ext. 4005
Facebook: Canyon Crest Academy Foundation
Q & A with TPHSF Executive Director Bobbi Karlson
What is the history and motivation behind the TPHS Foundation?
TPHSF was established in 1993 by a group of passionate parents. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded to restore many extracurricular programs that disappeared as a result of statewide budget cuts to public school education in the mid-1980s. By providing state of the art technology and cutting edge programs, the foundation promotes personal growth, leadership, and independence for all students. Our students are the highest priority as we promote inclusiveness, respect for diversity and pluralism, and the pursuit of excellence.
What is the overall mission of TPHSF?
To enhance the educational and developmental experience for all Torrey Pines students. The board of directors creates criteria to determine if a project or program meets the mission.
Approximately how many students from Carmel Valley does TPHSF serve?
Approximately 71% of our students come from the Carmel Valley neighborhood.
What kinds of programs does TPHSF focus on developing?
The foundation supports the whole student body with academic, social, and emotional opportunities and outreach. Last year we introduced FalconFest, created by our PALS advisor Don Collins. FalconFest is tailored to TPHS with the goal of breaking down social barriers and teaching acceptance on all levels. The foundation supported the addition of engineering and anatomy classes at TPHS.
How can someone help contribute to the foundation?
Parents and community members volunteer in many roles on and off campus. There is no membership like a PTA. All parents may help in whatever capacity they choose. We have many parent volunteers on campus every day answering phones, staffing our College Center, and contributing to ongoing foundation projects and events. The foundation coordinates campus volunteers for last minute needs or regular support around campus. Parents and community members who wish to be more involved may participate on the board of directors or as a booster liaison.
Please tell us more about your board of directors.
Members assist in resource development through identification of potential donors or funding sources. They are passionate about public education and hold our students as the highest priority. Members are involved in committees to help guide in financial governance and planning. Board members are the ears and eyes of the school community and are constantly spreading the word about the work we do as well as providing important feedback to the foundation staff about the needs of the students.
Does TPHSF hold fundraisers throughout the year?
Yes, in the fall we kick off the year with the Teacher Classroom Grant Program. Teachers are encouraged to request items that enrich learning in their classrooms. The foundation displays requests by teachers at Back to School Night and parents choose a teacher to support by contributing items on their wish list. In January we promote Toast to Torrey which is a kick-off event for the annual Spring Online Silent Auction in early February, and the Live Auction and Dance in late February. In April we host the Annual Rummage Sale that raises approximately $40,000 for participating groups. This year a new tradition was started called “The Freddies.” This awards ceremony modeled after the ESPY’s honored TPHS athletes for their achievements on and off the field, and the foundation helped make it happen.
What are your long-term and short-term goals for TPHSF?
We have new technology tools in the works to help booster groups collect donations quickly and more efficiently. Our campus is under construction and we have plans to move and expand our donor recognition areas. The popular paver project ran out of space several years ago. With continued donations from the community, we will be able to continue this project expansion.
How has TPHSF evolved over the years?
This fall will mark my 17th year at the foundation and I have seen many changes. We’ve added many new programs, experienced huge growth, tripled our income, and maintained healthy financial stability. When I became the executive director eight years ago, the nation had hit a financial downturn. Like most nonprofits, we had to get creative with how and where we spent money. Our goal is to run as cost-effectively as possible in the coming years, as TPHS is expecting a decline in enrollment. We are prepared for this and any other challenges that come our way.
What are you looking forward to most in this upcoming year?
The upcoming year’s course offerings will include college level engineering and anatomy classes. I am also incredibly excited to work with our new president Sarah Mitchell and the other new and returning board members. Sarah has great leadership skills and all have new ideas to bring to the mix. ¢
At-A-Glance | Torrey Pines High School Foundation
Name: Torrey Pines High School Foundation
President: Sarah Mitchell
Executive Director: Bobbi Karlson
Phone Number: 858-793-3551