Deep cuts due to the state’s ongoing budget crisis have increased the need for fundraising at the local level for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. In order to meet this need, the district’s fundraising arm, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF), has developed a new strategic vision.
This vision was presented to board of education on Aug. 10. A key goal is to substantially increase sustainable revenues from diversified resources to respond to the emerging needs of the district. To that end, SMMEF aims to generate at least $1 million in annual, sustainable revenue by the end of 2013. In addition, by the end of 2013 the group aims for the endowments for academics, arts, and athletics to have principal balances of at least $2 million each and have an annual endowment campaign to continue growth into the future. SMMEF plans to accomplish this through enhancing its strategy for raising annual sustainable revenue along with developing additional strong community partnerships.
SMMEF currently raises approximately $400,000 to $500,000 annually from their various partnerships and programs.
Another goal of the strategic vision is for SMMEF to develop a master agreement with the district so that the funds it raises can be properly allocated for needed programs in the schools. Also part of the vision are changes to SMMEF’s organizational structure which its members hope will help them expand their ability to draw upon the community’s expertise in fundraising, marketing, and financial management.
The organization’s new strategic vision was developed through a community-wide visioning process that included the participation of teachers, parents, senior citizens, business leaders, and City officials. The SMMEF’s board of directors approved it in June 2011. The vision also supports the district’s newly adopted strategic plan, specifically the plan’s goal of providing an excellent education to all district students.
The board was very supportive of the vision. “I know young people will have greater opportunities despite the fiscal crisis we’re facing from this vision,” noted Board member Oscar de la Torre.
Board President Jose Escarce responded to the comment by SMMEF’s Executive Director Linda Gross that “in the past SMMEF has been hampered by the way we can fundraise.” Escarce stated, “we should create the right framework for those who want to contribute to the district.” Escarce and the board were also supportive of the foundations efforts to learn about the foundations in other districts including their relationships with their foundations. They requested Superintendent Sandy Lyons to “undertake an investigation, examination, and assessment of what these relationships are and what would be optimal for our district.”
Also supportive of the plan was Jan Maez, the district’s chief financial officer. “The events of the last week have put the funding model the legislature adopted for the state budget at risk. I think the idea we won’t have mid-year cuts in December is fading pretty fast.” It’s never too soon to think about addressing any additional cuts from Sacramento.