What is an education foundation?

An education foundation is a community-based, privately funded, not-for-profit organization that funds public education initiatives through grants. Education foundations provide schools with another source of funding beyond what is provided by state and local government resources to pilot new ideas. Many communities in Massachusetts and across the nation have active education foundations.

When was the Melrose Education Foundation formed?

The Melrose Education Foundation became a legal non-profit organization in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in March 2013. The creation of the Foundation was driven by parents and community members who believe that strong public schools are essential to sustaining a vibrant city and contributing to the social well-being of its citizens. We expect to begin accepting grant applications in November of 2013. The Melrose Education Foundation became a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity in June 2013. Your contribution will be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Why Melrose?

Like other municipalities in recent years, Melrose has been operating in a constrained fiscal environment. At the same time public school budgets continue to be squeezed, the demands on public education continue to grow as they seek to equip students with 21st century skills.

Melrose is a community that supports and celebrates our public schools. We believe in the value of expanding educational opportunities and embracing innovation and change.  An education foundation represents an important opportunity to provide funding for innovative and effective programs that support our schools, enhance student achievement, and foster lifelong learning.

How does an education foundation raise money?

Education foundations raise money through individual donations, partnerships with businesses, and community fundraising.  The Melrose Education Foundation received its Certificate of Solicitation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in May 2013.

How does an education foundation award money?

Melrose Public School teachers and administrators – either individually or in teams – apply for the funds through a grant-making process with clear objectives and criteria.

What types of initiatives does the Foundation fund?

The Foundation funds initiatives that are not covered by the school budget. These may include professional development, guest speakers for students or faculty, project-based, student-centered learning initiatives, technology, and pilot programs that, if successful, are later implemented district-wide by the school district. Typically, education foundations do not fund “the basics” (e.g., teacher salaries or everyday classroom supplies).

How is the Foundation different from a PTO?

The Foundation supplements the good work of school PTOs. We fund initiatives not typically funded by traditional PTOs, including professional development, project-based learning, and pilot programs. Most important, the money raised is available for and distributed to all public schools in Melrose that apply.

How can I get involved in the Melrose Education Foundation?

The Foundation accepts and appreciates monetary donations from individuals and businesses. In addition, we rely on volunteers and board members to help us conduct fundraising events, community forums, and publicity and outreach.

Who can apply for grants?

The Melrose Education Foundation challenges Melrose Public School staff to develop progressive, innovative ideas that will enhance the programming of the Melrose Public Schools. Ideally, grants will be awarded to programs that can be replicated across grades and schools and that will have a lasting impact on teaching, students, and colleagues.

Does The Foundation provide grants to arts and wellness curriculum or are they only available to teachers of core academic subjects?

Grants are available to all staff who teach in the Melrose Public Schools, including those teaching arts, music, wellness, and other specialized subjects.

What is the relationship of the Melrose Education Foundation and the school district?

The Foundation has built a trusted, collaborative working relationship with the district, which is essential to ensuring we meet the same goals of academic excellence. However, The Foundation is and will remain an entirely separate organization from the school district.

What is the relationship between Melrose Education Foundation and the Melrose Education Coalition?

The Melrose Education Coalition (MEC) was a group of parents seeking to positively impact educational policy and programs in the Melrose Public Schools and community. MEC’s mission will now be taken up by the Melrose Education Foundation’s Public Education and Policy Committee. This committee will continue to foster public discourse on education issues. We invite you to visit the Resources for Educators and Resources for Parents pages of our website to learn about education issues.

Who is on The Foundation’s Board of Directors and how are they elected?

The Melrose Education Foundation Board and supporting committees include city, school, and business leaders, as well as educators and parents of Melrose Public School students. To read the biographies of our Board of Directors, visit the Who We Are page of our website. The directors are elected by a majority vote of the Board at the annual meeting or as seats become vacant.  The Foundation’s Board of Directors meets monthly and Committees meet as needed.