Every August, there are a few things you can just count on in Manhattan Beach – fun beach days, fewer parking spots, and your appeal letter from MBEF. Yes, this month, MBEF kicks off its Annual Appeal, the main fundraising campaign primarily directed at parents of MBUSD students. The Appeal lasts from August through January.
Parents contribute approximately 72% of the over $5 million raised each year to support Manhattan Beach public schools, with another 6% coming from matching grants from the parent employers. The Windsong Trust, local businesses, and communities makes up the remainder.
Money MBEF raises this school year will pay for grants to the school district for the following school year. This year’s grants, funded by donations to last year’s Annual Appeal, allowed the district to hire more than 70 additional educators across the school district. This is the equivalent of all the teachers from three of our elementary schools combined. In fact, one in five elementary teachers is funded by donations to MBEF’s Annual Appeal. These teachers keep class sizes low, averaging 24 students in K-3rd grade and 28-29 students in 4th and 5th grades. At the elementary schools, donations also fund music, reading and science teachers as well as librarians.
With funding from MBEF, middle school students enjoy small Humanities and English classes and an admirably low student-to-counselor ratio. They, too, have a music program and a librarian thanks to parent donations. MBEF also funds an additional teacher at the middle school for a cutting-edge video production class and more classes in the “Wheel” of electives courses.
At Mira Costa, parent donations to MBEF set the school apart from its peers. It is the only public school in the area to cap 9th-grade English classes at 24 students, and to lower English classes 10th to 12th grade as well, so the English department can focus on student writing. (Our superintendent is fond of saying, “Show me a student who writes well, and I’ll show you a well educated child.”) At Costa, parent donations also fund the guidance counselors. The school has one of the lowest counselor-to-student ratios around. Donations to MBEF also fund the student academic support counselors who lend extra support for students who need it and the all-important college and career counselors. The librarian and a science lab assistant round out the grants at Costa.
Districtwide, MBEF supports several critical grants. It funds a teacher who’s dedicated to implementing the highly successful Columbia Writers’ Workshop program. If your child loves to write today, it likely had something to do with this curriculum that was formally adopted last year. Another teacher funded by MBEF focuses solely on finding and implementing the latest technology-driven curriculum and ensuring teachers get the most out of it for their students. Finally, an MBEF grant that helps support music education in all the schools is part of the reason our students excel in this art. Our music program is envied across the state.
See our complete list of 2013-2014 Grants Here.
“Our Annual Appeal is core to our fundraising and can only happen through the dedication of hundreds of volunteers at each of our seven schools,” shares Carolyn Robb, Vice President of Fundraising.
This year, the campaign’s theme is “Give Your Child an Edge.” Also new this year is the ability to spread your donation over twelve months instead of the nine months of the school year. In May, MBEF announced its twelve-month installment plan. The earlier donors sign up for the program, the more months they can spread out their donation. If you make a donation in August, you have up to ten months to divide your donation. The hope is that the installment option encourages more parents to give a bit more to the campaign.
“When parents commit and pledge early, it really makes our job easier. Our volunteers can then focus on educating new parents and growing donations.” states Nina Patel, President of MBEF.
Because the Annual Appeal is primarily run by volunteers, the cost is quite low but it requires substantial effort. “We are always looking for volunteers to help MBEF, and need a variety of skill sets,” shares Ms. Patel.
Anyone wishing to get more involved with MBEF and the ever-important role it plays in our schools is encouraged to contact us at [email protected].