Articles tagged with fundraising

Schools are getting creative, but not always clever about fundraising

rabbit_hat_oopsHere’s a novel school fundraising idea: Cow Bingo.

How do you play? You paint a grid on a field and number each square. You sell raffle tickets and offer to split the proceeds with whoever holds the ticket with the winning number.

And how do you pick the number? You ask a local farmer if you can borrow a cow—a well-fed cow. 

I don’t think I need to explain the somewhat amusing, somewhat childish way that organizers allow the cow to select the number. Point is, there are a lot of unusual—even silly—ways that school communities are trying to raise money in these difficult economic times.

Actually, I could write quite a lot about school fundraisers today. I could write about how desperate cash-starved schools are for revenue—and the immense pressure out there to run fundraisers.

I could write about burnout among students and parents at the relentless requests for financial assistance. I could write about Grand County, Colo., where parents are trying to raise $500,000 to save two elementary schools that are slated for closure.

Naomi Dillon|February 24th, 2011|Categories: Governance, Budgeting, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

Line between church and state blurred as schools budgets stay flat

Feb_11th_2008_117It could be considered a lifeline in the midst of catastrophic budget cuts: a local community group “adopts” a school, stocking a closet with some $5,000 in supplies and going door-to-door to find out what teachers need. They send volunteers to serve as reading and math tutors, sponsor spaghetti dinners, and even buy shoes for students from impoverished families.

Is there a catch? Quite possibly, as this community group happens to be an evangelical Christian megachurch–and their pastors and members are on a mission to bring the parents and students at Combee Elementary School in Lakeland, Fla., to Jesus Christ.

What was even more astonishing about the article that first ran in the Wall Street Journal was that the principal of Combee didn’t seem to object—he and another school staff member even appeared in photos praying with Dave McClamma, an associate pastor at the 9,000-member First Baptist Church.

“We have inroads into public schools that we had not had before,” McClamma told the WSJ. “By befriending the students, we have the opportunity to visit homes to talk to parents about Jesus Christ.”

Naomi Dillon|June 22nd, 2010|Categories: Governance, Policy Formation, Budgeting, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

Fundraising filling —and widening— the gaps in public education

PICT0004Fundraising to keep prized arts programs, sports or even a beloved teacher’s job is not a new phenomenon, especially in these chaotic budget-slashing times. But in some places, parents and businesses are bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars from fundraisers, using strategies that go well beyond the bake sale.

USA Today reports on a school in Silicon Valley that has raised $1.6 million to save teachers’ jobs. Parents have asked every household to contribute $375 and businesses to contribute a portion of each day’s sales.

Supporters of the West Bloomfield, Mich. school district built a website to educate the community on the impact of budget cuts and started a “dollar-a-day” campaign to help patch a $3.8 million budget hole.

But Dan Domenich, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, pointed out that the fundraising could widen the gap between rich and poor students. And, he told USA Today, “You have the funding for one year and then what?”

Naomi Dillon|May 10th, 2010|Categories: Governance, Budgeting, American School Board Journal|Tags: , |

Does generosity dry up in a down economy, too?

Not necessarily, as I discovered while researching how  school fundraising and giving, in general, has been hit by the recession for May’s edition of ASBJ.

For days, I scoured search engines and subscription databases, expecting to find countless stories of districts abandoned, ignored, desperate to find donors willing to spare a dime and bolster their crippled budgets.

I found a few, like Beaverton High School in Oregon, where booster club president and long-time volunteer Marcia Loggins was at her wits end on where else to go and who else to turn to fund events and programs at the school.

“I know businesses are hurting and because there’s such competition for fewer dollars it’s like a frenzy,” Loggins told me. “It’s almost like people are running to doors saying, ‘Me first.’ Our poor little orthodonist probably supports everything in town.”

Loggins’ experience was certainly dire, but from what I could find, isolated. At my wits end and at the suggestion of my editor, I turned to one of the posterchilds of the depressed economy: Elkhart, Ind.

Pres. Obama had put the manufacturing town on the map, as he hosted a series of townhall  meetings across the country intended to create momentum toward his economic stimulus package.

With a decimated local economy, thanks to tanking RV sales (their big industry), and unemployment rates at 15 percent, surely, community generosity toward schools was scaling back in Elkhart. Nope.

Ellen Moore, the public relations and volunteer coordinator at Elkhart Community Schools, told me a movement began in 2001, just before the last recession, and has continued throughout this recession.

Naomi Dillon|April 24th, 2009|Categories: NSBA Publications, Student Achievement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , , , |
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