The Education Connection
Education foundations such as Del Mar Schools Education Foundation (DMSEF) and Solana Beach Schools Foundation (SBSF) are nonprofit organizations that exist to help provide funding for STEAM classes and other programs that are vital to education but are not funded by the State of California. The foundations are comprised primarily of parent volunteers and board members who put the needs of their respective school districts first. Without them these vital classes and programs would not exist as they do today. We speak with the presidents of each foundation to learn more about their mission to provide educational opportunities for students by funding programs that make a lasting impact.
Q & A with Del Mar Schools Education Foundation President Ty Humes
What is the motivation behind the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation?
The motivation behind the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation (DMSEF) is to provide the funding of the compensation packages for the STEAM+, formerly known as Extended Studies Curriculum, program’s specialists for all eight schools in the Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD).
What is the mission of DMSEF?
The overall mission of the DMSEF is to provide ongoing support for the STEAM+ initiative that reflects the DMUSD’s commitment to the education and development of the whole child. Our district’s goal is that all students have the opportunity to develop their individuality and learn to communicate their thinking while developing an understanding of the world around them.
How do you go about following that mission?
We go about following that mission through the creation and subsequent execution of a comprehensive parent-driven and community-assisted fundraising program.
Please explain the importance of STEAM+ for students.
The DMSEF and the DMUSD have implemented a new program that is called STEAM+. The STEAM+ programs are science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. The plus sign symbolizes how the program is inclusive of music, physical education, and enrichment programs. These programs are extremely important because of our district’s utilization of teachers who are credentialed specialists that work in conjunction with classroom teachers to enhance the core curriculum and provide students with opportunities to learn through exploration, experimentation, and creativity. Through our STEAM+ programs, students develop problem solving skills, practice teamwork, and gain exposure to the fine arts above and beyond the classroom experience. The STEAM+ program is the perfect combination of conceptually based hands-on instruction with opportunities for learning extended beyond the classroom.
How can someone who wants to help be a part of the foundation?
There are two primary avenues for those interested to provide support. First is that at any time, a contribution is welcome and can be made directly to the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation. Second is to become a board member. Each of the eight schools has at least two board members representing and thus voting on behalf of their respective schools. All board members have to have a child enrolled in the district – thus, we are all parent volunteers.
Why is it important for communities to have foundations such as DMSEF?
It is very important for communities to have foundations such as DMSEF because of the structure and current state of the public school educational foundation and funding in the State of California. First, the DMUSD is a Basic Aid District, which directly allows for the DMSEF to assist in the funding of the curriculum. Second, any and all assistance that the Basic Aid Districts provide allows for the State to provide more resources for the districts not fortunate enough to enjoy the committed parental stewardship and fiscal support that we have in the DMUSD.
What is most exciting about being a part of the foundation?
The most exciting part of the foundation is the opportunity to educate the parents on the unique role that they have in ensuring a first-class education for their children in a public school.
Tell us about your board of directors. How do they help keep the foundation running?
The board members are all parent volunteers who currently have children in the school district. Each school has at least two board members, thus receiving two votes within the board infrastructure. Unlike some foundation boards, the DMSEF does not have any paid directors. The directors representing their respective schools are charged with managing the communication and execution of their campus events while working in conjunction with the collective district message.
Does your foundation hold fundraisers throughout the year?
The DMSEF does hold fundraisers throughout the school year (September to May). Each school has its own legacy and campus-specific fundraisers. An example of this would be seven of the eight schools having jog-a-thons and one having a pajama jam. Also, one of our schools does a parking spot auction which raises over $3,000 per parking spot. The DMSEF now also holds two district-wide fundraisers.
What are your long-term and short-term goals for DMSEF?
Our long-term goal for the DMSEF is to maintain a fundraising level of $1.5 million per year from parental contributions and $500,000 per year from our business partnerships for a total of $2 million per year. The short-term goals are for maximum participation per school in the continued development of all campus-specific fundraising events.
How has DMSEF evolved over the years?
Over the years the DMSEF has evolved from an organization that did not consistently educate DMUSD parents on its role and importance. This led to not only minimum participation in terms of the number of families contributing, but also a challenge in recruiting and maintaining directors for the board across all eight campuses. That being said, the parents who did contribute consistently did a Herculean job. We have been able to augment this foundation not only in terms of financial support but also family participation. Today we have 70% of families contributing. We have also implemented a business partnership program that is now in its second year and growing steadily, as well as a full board of directors, with three schools at one time having three directors each.
What are you looking forward to the most about this upcoming year
In regard to the upcoming year, I am looking forward to three things the most. First is the implementation and excitement around the STEAM+ program and the opportunity for us to augment our fundraising initiatives around this paradigm shift for our children’s stellar education. Second is the continued growth and impact of our business partnership program and its role in raising funds for STEAM+. Third is the pleasure of working with a board of directors which will have over 60% new directors who have very young children in the school system. This will allow for us to re-establish the legacies on each campus that made our foundation one of the best. We are losing some of the best directors that ever existed on our board, or any board for that matter, and the opportunity to bring in the new directors at this time is crucial.
At-A-Glance | Del Mar Schools Education Foundation President Ty Humes
Name: Ty Humes
Community: Del Mar
Occupation: Vice President of Pacific Title Archives, Senior Managing Partner of PTA Capital Partners, and Chairman of the Board for Project Resiliency (Def Leppard Rock Band)
Education: B.A. – Syracuse University, NY; Executive Education – UCLA
Family: Wife – Alice; Daughter – Emily (9); Son – Joshua (5)
At-A-Glance | Del Mar Schools Education Foundation
Q & A with Solana Beach Schools Foundation President Jackie Teague
What is the history and motivation behind the Solana Beach Schools Foundation?
The Solana Beach Schools Foundation (SBSF) was established in 1986 to raise funds to support and enhance the education of students in the Solana Beach School District (SBSD). At that time there was – and continues to be – a gap in what public funds pay for and the full cost of providing the educational opportunities we want students in our district to have.
What is the mission of SBSF?
The mission of SBSF is to raise funds to bridge the gap between vital school needs and State funding to enrich the public education of all students in the SBSD.
How do you go about holding true to that mission?
SBSF raises funds to help pay for instructional staff, materials, and equipment for discovery labs at our schools. Donations allow students to receive hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, research, engineering, art, and math (STREAM), as well as supplemental instruction in physical education. The foundation serves all seven schools in the district: Carmel Creek, Skyline, Solana Highlands, Solana Pacific, Solana Ranch, Solana Santa Fe, and Solana Vista elementary schools.
How can members of the community get involved and help?
There are three key ways to help: contribute to SBSF, volunteer at the school or district levels, and learn about who SBSF is and what we do and share that information with fellow parents, friends, neighbors, and members of the community.
Contribute: Every year parents generously donate to our Annual Fund Drive and to fundraisers held at their schools. Businesses and community members also actively support foundation efforts at individual schools and district-wide in our focus areas of STREAM and supplemental P.E. We have a number of business donors who participate in our Partners in Education (PIE) program.
Volunteer: It’s critical to foundation success! Parents, grandparents, and community members generously volunteer their time to assist instructors in discovery labs at the schools, to plan and host fundraising events, and to serve on the SBSF board and its committees.
Get the word out: When people volunteer they learn more about SBSF and its value to the district and our students. Then they share their excitement with family and friends. This often translates into more volunteers, more contributions for the foundation, and increased interest in getting involved with the board and with our schools.
Why is it important for communities to have foundations such as SBSF?
Each community is different. We have different strengths, challenges, and priorities. However, we have a common interest – giving our children the best chance at a bright future in which they can fully participate in and contribute to society. Education foundations serve as a vehicle for parents and community members to advance that common interest in ways that reflect the community’s goals and vision.
Education foundations give parents and community members a forum for sharing their hopes and ideas for the future of education – and students – in their communities. Education foundations also give parents and community members an opportunity to engage with and learn about one another, which hopefully helps to build trust, understanding, and compassion among us.
What is most exciting about being a part of the foundation?
It’s hard to choose the best aspect of being a part of the foundation! Perhaps it’s that we get to partner with the district and support them in making truly great things happen for our kids. It is fantastic to get to know others in the community who are kindred spirits but who one might not otherwise have met had it not been for this common interest. Being a part of the foundation affords one the chance to work with a group of people from diverse backgrounds and learn from them.
Can you highlight any upcoming significant dates?
When students return to school at the end of August, a new year begins for them and for us at foundation. The district will be introducing new components of its STREAM initiative and we’ll be right in there fundraising to ensure that the schools have what they need to implement them fully.
Later in the fall, Skyline and Solana Vista Elementary schools will host the annual Halloween Carnival, a huge tradition in that community that has been going on for more than 40 years. The carnival, as always, is open to all. It is a wonderful family event!
Tell us about your board of directors. How do they help keep the foundation running?
Our board members hail from a variety of professional backgrounds and bring a breadth and depth of skills and experience to the table. As a board, our primary responsibility is fiduciary. In addition, individual board members have special roles. Every school is represented by a team of two site presidents who oversee fundraising at their schools. Site presidents manage the Annual Fund Drive and are supported by event chairs for other SBSF fundraising events.
Our members-at-large serve in a variety of capacities. They head up and serve on board committees, participate in school district task forces, and provide advice on numerous topics as needed.
Our executive committee, which includes SBSF Executive Director Patti Malmuth, oversees SBSF business and studies issues facing the foundation to present to the full board for discussion. The full board meets every other month during the school year.
Lastly, as a full board we establish and execute a strategic plan, which is developed with both district priorities and SBSF mission and scope in mind.
Does SBSF hold fundraisers throughout the year?
Our most important fundraiser of the year is the Annual Fund Drive, which runs from September through January each school year. Each school holds one or two additional fundraisers throughout the year. Some schools host fun runs.
What are your long-term and short-term goals for SBSF?
I strive to maintain and build SBSF’s positive partnership with the SBSD. I would like to see the foundation continue to focus support on the school district’s STREAM initiative. I also look forward to working on expanding our donor base and exploring special projects and opportunities with major donors. Perhaps most importantly, I would really like to broaden our volunteer base to ensure that all parts of our incredibly diverse school community are represented and that all voices and ideas are heard.
How has SBSF evolved over the years?
The foundation has been around for a long time. As with many organizations, it began with a small group of parents who saw funding gaps and knew the only way to fill them was to step up and start something. Over the years, the small group became more organized. Policies and procedures were put in place to safeguard the integrity and long-term well-being of the organization as a 501(c)(3). A few years ago we hired Executive Director Patti Malmuth, who demonstrates her depth of knowledge about education and nonprofit management in every conversation, every suggestion, and every decision. When Solana Ranch Elementary opened its doors in 2014, it elected to establish a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), which we brought under our umbrella.
What are you looking forward to the most in the upcoming year?
I am really looking forward to seeing what our students will be learning and experiencing through the STREAM initiative. As we head into year two of STREAM schools have incredible plans to revamp discovery lab spaces and bring new curriculum units to students at all grade levels.
SBSF is also proud to help fund the district’s new, full-time STREAM Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) at each school. The STREAM TOSAs will coordinate STREAM at each site, teach classes, and help develop curriculum for the Next Generation Science Standards.
How can people go about finding out more information about the foundation?
I encourage people to visit our newly redesigned website, www.solanabeachkids.org, which has loads of information about the SBSF. Patti Malmuth and I are also happy to answer questions. We can be reached at the foundation’s office.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I may be biased, but I think our local schools are the most valuable community resource we have and we are all invested in them whether or not we currently have children in the school system. It is important for us all to understand the challenges, priorities, and opportunities our schools are tasked with managing and to be supportive of their efforts. When schools and students succeed, we all benefit.
At-A-Glance | Solana Beach Schools Foundation Jackie Teague
Name: Jackie Teague
Community: Carmel Valley
Education: History B.A. – Northwestern University;
Education Policy M.A. – Stanford University
Family: Spouse – Harris; Daughters – Leah (8th grade)
and Caroline (6th grade)
Hobbies: Traveling and seeing new places, hiking, mountain biking, spending time with friends, hanging out with my family
At-A-Glance | Solana Beach Schools Foundation