FAQs

Who are those kids on the top of the SEF web site? They are Moffitt Elementary school students who are excited about their tambourines, kazoos, bells and triangles that were purchased with an Innovative Educator Grant. Their music teacher, Andria Martin took this photo to thank us.

Below are some of the other frequently asked questions that we have been asked.

ORGANIZATION AND HISTORY

FINANCIAL AND BUDGET

INNOVATIVE EDUCATOR GRANTS

LONG TERM GOALS

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Q1: What does the Foundation do?

A: We raise funds and invest community resources – volunteer time and money – in Springfield Public Schools.

Q2: How do individual schools in Springfield benefit?

A: The SEF resources flow to individual schools in the District either through educator requested grants or through donar directed donations. Here are some examples of how kids at individual schools have benefited from this support:

  • Classrooms of kids participate in unique educational projects and programs funded through “Innovative Educator Grants” based on proposals presented to SEF by their teachers.
  • First graders participate in the Gift of Literacy (GOL) program and each participant receives a hard cover book of his or her own. Additionally, their school libraries each receive a set of ten GOL books.
  • Kids from schools all around the district, 3rd graders to 11th graders, form teams for the annual “Battle of the Books” competitions and SEF funds a set of sixteen competition books for each of the schools.

Q3: Why should I support the foundation?

A: We believe that providing a quality public education for our kids is fundamental to the welfare of our community. Supporting the foundation provides you the mechanism for you to give a tax-deductible contribution to help build bright and successful futures for all students. Our board strategically directs the investment of your donation and the community’s dollars ensuring these funds are well-managed and are spent to support programming that compliments the school district’s initiatives and programs. The unique link the Springfield Education Foundation has with the school district is imperative to investing wisely.

When you invest in the Foundation, part of your donation funds the Innovative Educator Grants that help creative teachers inspire their students, offers students resources that might otherwise go unfunded and provides learning tools that keep students motivated. For example, a speech pathologist requested funds for an iPod Touch and it’s applications to support the speech curriculum. Using an iPod Touch for speech got her students excited about coming to speech class. One application allows a student to listen to their own voice at a slower rate which improved their speech and confidence level to speak out in class.

Q4: How much of my donation goes toward helping students? A: We work to see that between 80 to 85 percent of our dollars are provided to schools, students and programs.

Q5: Do you track your impact on students? A: Yes. We want to make sure our donor’s money is being used wisely. We communicate directly with the teachers, students and administrators who have been the recipients of our grants, district initiatives we support and the donor directed funds to identify the impact. Our grants are awarded with the understanding we are to receive a report of the impact of the particular program the grant provided.

Our grants touched at least 2,500 students this year. The Battle of the Books reaches about 1,800 students and the Gift of Literacy directly involved about 900 first graders. Our executive director and board members visit classrooms where grants have been awarded to see first hand the difference our grants are making.

Q6: What types of events do the Board sponsor? What is the impact of Gift of Literacy? Battle of the Books?

A: We support two district-wide events that encourage literacy and get kids excited about reading. Our support of these programs makes a positive impact on individual students as well as bringing in new books to our school libraries every year.

  • Gift of Literacy is a six-month program that encourages a love of reading among young children. Through rich community partnerships, every first-grader in Springfield Public Schools receives a brand-new hardcover book at a special literacy celebration at the end of each school year. This program touches nearly 900 students every year. In 2011, we were able to provide every first grader who did not have a library card to the Springfield Library a card for the year.
  • Battle of the Books is a program that aims to encourage and motivate students to read while also promoting academic excellence and teamwork, broadening reading interests, and increasing reading competency through healthy competition. This program touches about 1800 students every year and gets students cheering for books.

Q7: Is the money I give tax deductible? A: Yes, the money you give is tax deductible when given as a donation and no services are exchanged. The Springfield Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization and not a private foundation. Our tax identification number is 93-1147979.

Q8: How do I give to the Springfield Education Foundation? A: There are many ways to give to the Foundation.

  • You can simply write a check made payable to the Springfield Education Foundation and send it to us at Springfield Education Foundation, PO Box 663, Springfield, Or 97477.
  • You can donate on line and use your credit card. Simply use the PayPal button at the right side of the page.
  • You can become a monthly donor. You provide us your banking information and payments are automatically deducted from your account. This easy way to give is also easy on your monthly budget.
  • You can donate through United Way of Lane County.
  • If you are a Springfield Public Schools employee, you can set up monthly payments from your paychecks.
  • If you represent a company, we often have events and activities which need sponsorships, in-kind gifts and services. For opportunities contact the executive director.
  • You can even give to the Foundation when you make a purchase on Amazon.com. We receive 4 to 6 percent of your purchase with no cost to you or the Foundation. Simply click on the Amazon icon on the right side of our web site.
  • You can designate the Springfield Education Foundation in your will or bequest.

ORGANIZATION AND HISTORY

Q9: How long has the foundation been in existence?

A: The Springfield Education Foundation was formed in 1994.

Q10. Why haven’t I heard of SEF before?

A: Even though Springfield Education Foundation has existed since 1994, it hasn’t been until about 2008 when the organization grew to increase our support of Springfield Public Schools. At that time, the Foundation refocused our scope and size of the organization. This included formalizing an agreement with Springfield Public School boards, growing the SEF board from eight to 27 members, launching annual giving campaigns, updating our marketing materials, holding Springfield Education Foundation events and hiring an executive director in February of 2010. The organization now has the capacity to run effective fundraising campaigns, provide more dollars to schools and grow community support. So, we hope you have been hearing from us now.

Q11: Is SEF just a part of the Springfield School District?

A: No, the Springfield Education foundation is an independent non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. However, the SEF does have a close and engaged working relationship with the school board, District administration, and teaching faculty. The School Superintendent holds a standing position on the SEF board of directors and the foundation provides an annual report of our work to the District School Board.

FINANCIAL AND BUDGET

Q12: What percent of donations go to helping Springfield Students?

A: Our operating goal is to invest 80 to 85 percent of our funds back into the schools every year. With one full-time employee, we work to keep our administration and overhead as low as possible so we can give as much as possible to support our students.

Q13: How much money does SEF give to schools each year?

A: As our budget fluctuates so does the amount we give back to schools. In 2009 to 2010, we gave teachers, schools and district-wide programs, about $15,000 in Innovative Educator Grants and $23,000 in donor directed funds including support of our literacy programs. In 2010-2011 so far, we have given $25,000 in Innovative Educator Grants, $50,000 in donor-directed funds, and $12,500 in literacy projects.

Q14: What was SEF’s 2011 fund raising goal and what does SEF hope to raise in 2012?

A: The SEF exceeded our 2010/2011 fund raising goal of $150,000, which represented a 50 percent increase over funding in 2009/2010. For 2011/2012, SEF seeks to raise $225,000 and we have already raised 35% toward that goal in our first three months of the fiscal year.

Q15: Where do we get our money and who is involved?

A: About 70 percent comes directly from individuals: Springfield School District employees, business owners, alumni, parents, community members and retirees. Since July 1, about 366 donors gave to the foundation and the average gift was $265. We have 100 percent of giving from our board (and the school board too!) We also apply for and are awarded grants from other foundations and corporations. We are the proud recipients of a building capacity grant from Oregon Community Foundation, a general fund grant from Weyerhaeuser Foundation, Fred Meyer Trust and a literacy grant from the Cressey Family Trust. Other income streams include event/ticket revenue and product sales.

Q16: What is your annual budget?

A: SEF’s budget for 2010/10 was $217,000. Our 2011/2012 budget is set at $241,000.

Q17: School revenues continue to be reduced and budgets cut in Springfield along with schools all around Oregon. What does this mean for the Springfield Education foundation?

A: Our Children are our community’s future. The financial and volunteer support of people like you is more critical than ever in these challenging economic times. SEF plays the critical role of bringing that financial and volunteer support to bear to help ensure that our children continue to get the quality education they need and deserve. Regardless of the economic situation, the Foundation helps a caring community bring and support excellent educational opportunities to our students that are not funded in regular school budgets.

Q18: Don’t I pay enough taxes for public education? Why do I need to pay more money to a district wide foundation?

A: The Foundation is set to provide for programs that our tax dollars do not pay for. Private dollars allow for community members who care about investing in public education a means to support schools, students and classrooms. Our funding goes for items that inspire and help connect to students.

INNOVATIVE EDUCATOR GRANTS

Q19: What type of needs are we seeing being requested from Innovative Grant requests? How many of them are we able to meet?

A: We received $60,000 worth of requests last year. We awarded almost $25,000 this last year. Our innovative educator grants are meant to provide innovative staff with the resources to bring new and creative ways of teaching to their students. For example, we see requests for new musical instruments, iPads and iPods, science projects, and technological equipment for teaching and trips to local learning institutions.

Q20: Where can I get a list of all the Educator grants that were given this year?

A: This information is on our web site listed under the Grants menu: 2009-10 Innovative Educator Grants and 2010-11 Innovative Educator Grants.

Q21: Has the dollar amount of innovative grants grown recently in comparison with the growth of SEF revenue?

A: Yes. See the chart below.

Q22: How many grants, and total dollar amounts, do we give out each year?

A: In the fall of 2011, we awarded the largest amount in our history: $24,892 and 16 grants.Here is a chart of the past few years. Since 2004, the Foundation has awarded $101,882.46 in grants that go directly to classrooms. The number varies from year to year and from the amount due to applications and amount of funding. Individual educators receive up to $1000 and teams of educators up to $3,000.

LONG TERM GOALS

Q23: What major long-term goals does Springfield Education Foundation have?

A: In 2020, the Springfield Education Foundation wants to enhance the education of every student attending Springfield Public Schools. The Board also would like to see that the community equates our organization, and our logo which features an apple, with building bright and successful futures for Springfield Public School students. As the Foundation continues to grown in scope and depth, our board will most likely be defining more specific programs and vehicles that the Foundation financial supports.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Q24: What volunteer opportunities are there? What kinds of opportunities are there for volunteers?

A: We offer many ways for individuals to volunteer with the Springfield Education Foundation. Some options include

  • Serving on a committee of the Board of Directors, currently these the Golf Classic event committee, Night of 11,000 Stars! event committee, Innovative Educator Grant review committee, and selection of Rising Stars.
  •  Providing event support for the Battle of the Books and Gift of Literacy.
  • Conducing light office work including data entry and updating our website.
  • Serving on the board of directors; an appointed position by the Foundation board.