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MBEF Turns 30 – Looking Back, Looking Ahead

By August 13, 2013eNews

Admit it, you probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the history of MBEF this summer.  Despite our summer schedules ourselves, we thought it would be fun to track down some of the key leaders of MBEF over the years and find out what MBEF was like then and how it’s changed.

Bob Weiner, President (1985 – 1987)

Bob Weiner

Our goal was to establish long-lasting support for MBUSD schools, and my wife Elaine and I are very proud of being part of the initial phases of the Foundation.  (MBEF was started by eight founding members, including Bob.  He served as MBEF’s second president.)

It has been a joy to watch the amazing growth and success of MBEF.  When we started, we had hoped to reach a $250,000 goal the first year.  That goal turned out to be overly optimistic, and it took many years to achieve that level – the early fund-raising events yielded less than $50,000.

At that time we were an all-volunteer group, with about ten or so hard workers but no professional staff.  Because the concept of an education foundation was so new at the time,  no real prototype existed for us to follow.  Given that, we established a few operating policies, like collaborating with MBUSD to determine MBEF funding priorities and providing allocation of dollars equitably amongst the schools.  At that time, we also provided grants to individual teachers for projects they proposed.


Brad Jones, President (1992 – 1996)

In early 1990s, it was clear to Brad and the MBEF board that funding for California’s schools would continue to fluctuate based on the economy — the same situation our schools experience today.   However, most of a school’s costs are fixed, like salaries.  So, under Brad’s leadership, the board decided that if parents wanted excellent public education in Manhattan Beach, a long-term financial strategy with stable revenue sources was essential.  The board established a fund within MBEF for an endowment.  At June’s Manhattan Wine Auction, it was very gratifying for these leaders to see this fund (now officially the MBEF Endowment Fund) cross its initial funding goal of $10 million, the level at which it can now start contributing funds back to the schools.


Tracey Windes, President (1997 – 1999)
Tracey Windes
In 1990 when I joined the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, there were so few of us that we sat around a kitchen table to discuss how to raise funds for the Manhattan Beach schools.

By the mid-1990s, MBEF was providing over $400,000 in grants to MBUSD.    I remember the initial funding of the Mira Costa High School Film and Broadcast Studio.  Since then, both studios have been recipients of numerous awards and honors on the local, state and even national levels.

One of my personal highlights was fundraising for the first-ever Mira Costa High School Orchestra.   I remember the principal of MBMS brought a video cassette recorder to an MBEF meeting and played the “William Tell Overture” performed by the Santa Monica High School orchestra.   My fellow MBEF board members were inspired so much they immediately began fundraising for an orchestra.   Just think how far that investment has come in just 10 years! The Mira Costa High School Symphony Orchestra has won numerous awards and performed at Carnegie Hall as well as the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

It truly took a village to make MBEF what it is today and I’m excited to have been part of its story.


Ellen Rosenberg, Past President

MBEFSchoolBoardGroupShotOur community is amazing.  I could not be prouder of all of us.  We have joined together to support learning; there is nothing more important for the future.  Public education is the foundation of democracy, and without it we are lost.  Everyone who has ever supported MBEF and MBUSD should feel proud of their efforts.  The continued support of the community has never been more important, and I am so appreciative as an MBUSD parent and school board trustee.





Nina Patel, Current President

Nina Patel

Nina Patel with
Superintendent Mike Matthews

Over the last five years, MBEF has doubled the amount it has raised for our schools, which is truly impressive, to over $5 million a year.  I personally have been so honored to represent the great parents of this community who, year after year, generously give to MBEF.  Thank you for all your support.

This organization wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated volunteers.   Every volunteer is essential whether you are serving on our boards or one of our committees, helping at the Manhattan Wine Auction, or serving as a site representative.  Without the support of hundreds of volunteers, we would not be as successful as we are.   Every volunteer counts, every dollar counts, every donor counts.

Today, MBEF is the largest education foundation in the state of California.  Our ground-breaking endowment (MBEF Endowment Fund) recently reached its initial funding goal of $10 million after several years of fundraising and careful investing.   This fund will continue to ensure great schools forever in Manhattan Beach.

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