The Santa Monica‐Malibu Education Foundation on Monday announced that it had raised $3,203,730 toward its inaugural $4 million goal to fund the Santa Monica‐Malibu Unified School District’s Vision for Student Success.
Last year the District adopted the Vision for Student Success, a six‐part initiative focused on ensuring quality educational opportunities for every student in the District.
Sandra Lyon, Superintendent of the Santa Monica‐Malibu Unified School District said the Vision for Student Success was designed to provide opportunities for all students at every school in the District to reach their full potential.
“This plan enriches student experiences through the arts, smaller class sizes, personalized instruction, ongoing professional development, and more,” Lyon said. “We are so thrilled to be working in partnership with parents, local corporations, and other donors as we seek to enrich the learning experience for every student in our District.”
That vision was the result of more than a year of community conversations and input from a wide variety of stakeholders, including parents, teachers, administrators, and elected officials.
Lyon said the community is coming together to support programs and services for all students in the District.
“It’s exciting to see the great strides our Education Foundation has made this past year and the support that our communities are putting behind the Vision for Student Success,” she said. “I’m confident that going forward this community support will continue to grow.”
To fully fund the Vision for Student Success, the District must rely upon $4 million annually in private
funds raised by the Education Foundation. Due to the District’s timetable for decision‐making on 2014‐15 staffing expenditures, January 31, 2014 was established as the deadline for contributions to qualify toward the 2014‐15 budget.
Funds raised to date total just over $3.2 million, with the possibility of additional funds from outstanding proposals and gifts postmarked on or before January 31 that haveyet to arrive at the Foundation office.
Linda Greenberg Gross, Executive Director of the Education Foundation, said to reach this level of support in the first year of the centralized fundraising model is a great success for everyone.
“We knew from the outset that this first year would be tremendously challenging, as our PTAs were raising money to cover current‐year commitments that will fall under the Vision for Student Success in future years, while at the same time, we were launching our efforts to raise funds for next year,” Greenberg Gross said. “To reach over $3.2 million in contributions to the Education Foundation while also seeing continued support of school PTAs is a victory for our schools and most importantly for our students and teachers. It’s also a testament to the commitment families and community members have to our public schools.”
The Education Foundation broadened its focus this year from events and annual appeals to the cultivation of major and planned gifts designed to provide sustainability for important programs at schools throughout the District.
The Foundation secured multi‐year pledges and matching gifts, doubled its Superintendent’s Circle membership, created a corporate partners program and worked with the District to formalize an operating agreement and a facility naming and signage policy.
Additional fundraising staff was hired as the Foundation worked to increase its capacity to attract philanthropic support.
Indicators of that success include the largest individual gift, which was made by a former District family (the $500,000 Scott Family Charitable Fund gift announced last fall), the largest corporate gift secured (the $150,000 Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation gift announced in December), and a significant growth in the number of donors (from 1,444 of donors last year to 2,962 of donors this year).
The Foundation’s fundraising efforts start anew this week, as work begins on the $4 million goal for the 2015‐16 school year.