School-Based Funds Add Value

Thursday, February 21, 2013

As the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization recognized by the Orange County School Board as the philanthropic arm of the district, the Foundation serves as the fiscal agent for individual schools and district-wide programs. Last year, the Foundation managed approximately $1.3 million for 35 school and district funds.

The Falcon Fund at Audubon Park Elementary School is very active year-round. “There are many benefits to having a school fund. One is that donors have an additional “avenue” of giving as opposed to only the fundraisers offered by PTAs. All donations made through the Foundation for OCPS are 100% tax deductible and go straight back into the school,” says Leigh Norber, Falcon Fund president.

Leigh states that the purpose of their school fund “…is to provide funding for capital improvements not otherwise available in an individual school’s budget. Money raised through the school fund is used to purchase curriculum, technology and equipment not otherwise affordable within a school’s budget.”

Leigh invests in her school via the school fund because she believes that she is taking an active role in shaping and improving the environment in which her children go to school. Leigh commented, “I know that by investing in the school fund, 100% of my donations will be used for the benefit of every child at my school. I am making an investment in my children’s future as well as my community.”

Leigh expressed how important the relationship with the Foundation is in contributing to the overall success of the school fund. “The Foundation acts like a silent partner backing us in all that we do,” commented Leigh. “The Foundation for OCPS has established by-laws that helped guide our board in adopting our own by-laws and policies and procedures. The Foundation facilitates the day-to-day management of our fund as well as our yearly audit and staff members provide crucial accounting support of our efforts and activities.”