Q: Why is a foundation necessary for a public school system?
A: Tax dollars primarily support the ongoing operation of our schools. The Foundation focuses on funding innovative educational ideas, projects, or programs to enhance our student’s learning experience. The funds we raise enable teachers and the school district to enrich their teaching, provide relevant experiences to their curriculum, or meet a specific need that otherwise could not be funded.
Q: Wasn’t there a previous public schools foundation created in the 1990’s?
A: Yes, earlier beginnings of the foundation date back to 1989 when a group of community leaders formed the Eau Claire Education Foundation. Funds raised were granted out for many innovative projects. Without a dedicated staff to keep the effort going, volunteers dissolved the Foundation. The Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation was established in 2011 to continue with the goal of permanently endowing funds as well as granting out funds for projects.
Q: What is ECPSF’s relationship with the Eau Claire Area School District?
A: While we coordinate our efforts with the school district and are solely dedicated to supporting the Eau Claire Public Schools, we are an independent charitable organization.
Q: What is ECPSF’s relationship with the Eau Claire Community Foundation (ECCF)?
A: The ECPSF is a supporting organization within the Eau Claire Community Foundation. This affiliation allows the ECPSF to benefit from professional investment management and significant tax and IRS reporting advantages due to the Community Foundation’s status as a public charity. At the same time, the ECPSF retains its unique identity, distinct purpose, and has its own Board of Trustees to award grants and build assets.
Q: Who has benefited from Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation grants?
A: All 21 schools have directly benefited from grants gifted by the Foundation. In addition, programs and groups such as Odyssey of the Mind and Boys and Girls Club have applied for and received grants. To view a list of prior year’s grant recipients, visit our awarded grants page here.
Q: My high school reunion is coming up. How can I organize a fundraising effort for my class reunion?
A: Contact ECPSF Executive Director Sarah French to help you promote your reunion. The foundation has templates for your reunion and can help with the mailings. Some classes add a donation into the cost of your reunion ticket of $10 or $20 and present a check to the Foundation in honor of the class at the end of the event.
Reunion Goal Setting:
The $10 for a year campaign could be applied to any graduating class.
10th Reunion = $10, $100
25th Reunion = $25, $250
55th Reunion = $55, $110, $1,100
Q: Who can apply for a Foundation grant?
A: Any educator or staff member employed by the Eau Claire Area School District is eligible to apply for a grant. All grant applications must be signed by the principal or building supervisor.
Q: Who decides which projects to fund?
A: The Allocations Committee reviews grant proposals twice a year. The ECPSF Trustees vote on recommendations made by the Allocations Committee to determine which projects to fund.
Q: Who serves on the Board of Trustees?
A: The board is made up of a cross section of individuals who represent education, business, and the community. The ECASD Superintendent and a member of the School Board also serve in an ex-officio capacity.
Q: What are Endowments?
A: Endowments are designated funds for a specific purpose that are structured so that the principal amount is kept intact while the investment income is available for granting or reinvestment to build the endowment. This allows the donations to have an impact over a longer period of time than if it were spent all at once. A permanent endowment is a key component of successful Education Foundations that support public education across the country.
Q: Can I set up my own endowment?
A: You contact the ECPSF to start an acorn fund, a donor advised fund or a field of interest fund. You work with the Director to establish the criteria for the fund and then the fund is approved by the Board of Trustees.
Q: How do Endowments grow bigger?
A: The Foundation holds all endowed funds in a pool that is invested with the general endowment. All these funds maintain their principal amount intact while the generated interest is used to support the specific purpose of the funds.
Q: What is a donor advised fund?
A: A Donor Advised Funds is established with an individual gift of $25K or more. The principal grows each year and the interest is allocated based on the wishes of the donor. It allows a family, club, group or individual to set up the parameters of their donor advised fund and make annual decisions about where the interest is directed. Any amount of $10K or greater is acceptable to begin a perpetual endowment that develops investment income.
Q: What is an Acorn Fund?
A: Acorn Funds come in all sizes and grow as donations are made and interest is accumulated. An acorn fund can be established with an initial gift of as little as $500 with the intention to grow the fund to $10,000 within five years.
Q: What is a Field of Interest Fund?
A: A Field of Interest Fund is a personalized fund developed by a school, alumni group, club or individual to support purpose that is meaningful to the donor or donors. The interest from the fund is allocated based on the criteria established by the donor. It may be awarded as a scholarship, or, to a school's greatest needs fund or for a school, program.