Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the Sunnyvale Education Foundation?
The Sunnyvale Education Foundation (SEF) is a volunteer-driven, non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that raises funds for Sunnyvale School District (SSD) that includes all eight public elementary schools, Columbia Middle School, and Sunnyvale Middle School.
What is the difference between SEF and each school’s PTA/PTO/PTG?
SEF’s core mission is fundraising. Each PTA’s core mission is more complex: community-building, child advocacy, parent education, classroom and teacher support. There are important differences in what SEF and PTA can support through fundraising efforts. For example, only SEF dollars can fund salaries. SEF’s fundraising benefits every K-8 student, promotes equity and consistency among school sites, and ensures sustained and effective allocation of program, staff, and resources across the district. Your school’s PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) raises money to address site-specific needs such as playground equipment, classroom supplies, and campus beautification. Both organizations are important for your school to thrive.
Why do public schools need private money?
The most successful school districts in California have strong education foundations. California ranks 44th in the nation in education spending per student. Consider these facts:
- California spent $2,500 less per child than the national average
- California spent $4,000 less per child than the state of Illinois
- California spent $6,700 less per child than the state of New York
- Source: California Budget Project, School Finance Facts (2012-13) dated October 2013
Public funding is not enough to provide the kind of public education our children deserve. Local parcel taxes and bond measures help, but do not completely cover the need. Our foundation can.
How much will SEF raise this year?
Our goal for the 2015-2016 school year is modest: $30,000. As this is our first year, much of our time will be spent building relationships with donors and working out the project process with the district and its schools. Donations and this goal will grow over time.
What do SEF finances look like? Is the organization fiscally responsible?
SEF is a brand-new organization. As such, we do not yet have an annual report to share. We accrue typical business expenses, such as insurance, office supplies, and postage. We anticipate that these overhead costs will be no more than 10% of our overall budget. SEF is transparent about its finances, providing an overview of our profit and loss statements at every board meeting, and will provide a copy of our draft budget upon request.
Why should my company donate to SEF?
Everyone decides their own priorities when it comes to charitable giving to non-profits, and SEF hopes donors will stay close to home. The simple fact is that the State of California is not currently supporting education at a level that will provide the educational opportunities we expect for our students. Sunnyvale values education and believes in Sunnyvale students. An investment in SEF is an investment in Sunnyvale children and our community.
Can I donate stock or bonds?
Yes, SEF will gladly accept the donation of stock or bonds. We encourage you to check with your financial advisor regarding the tax-deductibility of your gift. When you are ready to transfer your assets, please email our treasury team.
Does SEF reach out to the community and businesses?
Yes, and we depend on contact from parent volunteers to help make these connections, because businesses tend to give to people they know or with whom they’ve developed a relationship. If you would like to help us make these connections, please contact our fundraising team.
Has SEF considered creating an endowment?
Absolutely! A endowment fund can offer SEF funding stability that would exist in perpetuity. If you want to help us set up an endowment, please contact us.