Ann Arbor educational foundation to revamp fundraising campaign after missing $300K goal for 2012
The Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation will be re-evaluating and revamping its initiatives for 2013, after coming in short of its overall $1 million fundraising goal.
The 2012 rendition of the foundation’s “One Million Reasons Campaign” wrapped up on June 30.
Executive Director Wendy Correll said, as of Friday, the foundation raised about $160,000. It had hoped to raise closer to $300,000 this year, Correll said, adding some donations will continue to roll in throughout the summer.
“It was inspiring to donors to be able to say they could make a gift for what would have been their tax-levy contribution that year (had the millage passed). But the beauty of taxes is that they continue, and philanthropic gifts can’t necessarily.”
During the inaugural year of the campaign, the drive generated more than $335,000 to benefit programs and educational opportunities at the Ann Arbor Public Schools. That was the most the foundation has ever raised during an annual period, so the board of directors chose to extend the campaign to try to reach the initial $1 million target.
However, donations decreased the following year. The 2011 effort raised about $300,000, board members said.
Correll added while the foundation could have extended the campaign one more year and “been absolutely certain and confident” of reaching its original $1 million mark, it is time to move on.
“We are really proud of what we were able to yield,” she said. “Yes, we would have liked to have raised $1 million every year. The schools certainly could use it. But we’re still working to find that right combination of what the schools need and what our donors and the community want to support. It’s all about finding the right product.”
Money collected via the One Million Reasons Campaign largely went to fund broad-scale programs outside of the core curriculum — programs that furthered excellence, enrichment and innovation; were exciting and inspiring; and led to both academic and talent development, Correll said.
“But now, so much has changed with education funding in the past three years, that now schools are looking for ways to maintain core programs that are in jeopardy of going away,” she said.
The AAPSEF will begin researching what other educational foundations across the state and country are doing to help schools. It also likely will survey its constituents — the district, current donors as well as non-donors — to see what types of fundraisers people would be likely to support, Correll said.
She said in California, educational foundations have started funding staff positions.
“It’s a lot of money, but is something that parents and communities feel strongly about,” she said. “Class sizes are getting bigger. Art teachers, music teacher have totally disappeared from some school districts. So there are lots of balls up in the air.”
One item up for consideration for AAPSEF to fund with this year’s $160,000 is the afterschool busing for Ann Arbor’s four middle schools. The district’s Board of Education cut the 4 p.m. bus routes in an effort to balance the budget for 2012-13.
Courtesy of AAPSEF
The Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop Board of Directors already approved allotting up to $43,000 toward the service, said Ann Farnham, director of promotions and community relations for the shop. She said the PTO Thrift Shop gave the district a $100,000 grant to pay for enrichment-related busing as it saw fit, such as for field trips. The $43,000 will come from what is unused or left over from that gift, which is expected to be about $50,000, Farnham said.
The AAPS educational foundation’s board will meet at the end of the month to begin discussing how it will award grants for the 2012-13 school year. It's expected the afterschool busing proposal will be considered at this time, Correll said, adding the foundation received a $15,000 donation specifically earmarked for supporting the afterschool bus service at the middle schools.
Grant funding for the next academic year is directly correlated to the One Million Reasons Campaign funds.
The AAPSEF also has $1,000 Great Idea Grants for teachers that it gives out bi-annually and an endowment fund for long-term stability that it is trying to grow.
Correll said the financial climate has not been conducive to building endowment funds.
“We’ve found our donors are most interested in making contributions to fund programs in the immediate future, not something that might bear fruit 20 years from now,” she said. “We have to find that balance in our donor community. That is something we are going to be working on moving forward.”
For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the most recent year for which data is available, the AAPSEF tallied contributions of $426,088 in revenue and spent $371,333 on program services and $121,106 on administrative costs, according to the foundation’s IRS form 990. It had $1.18 million in total assets and $291,401 in liabilities.