I’m pleased to write to you as a Guest Commentator in my capacity as President of the Falls Church Education Foundation. Prior to taking on the role of Foundation president, I observed the development of the Foundation from the position of Mayor of Falls Church City (2000-2006) and witnessed its maturity into a viable and worthwhile partner of the Falls Church City Public Schools.
While the Foundation is a relatively new community organization, we are successfully partnering with our other school affiliated organizations to maximize accomplishments on behalf of our students. Our collective achievements to date are a direct result of the dedication of our teachers, administrators, parents, students, and our community as a whole.
It is our pledge that the Foundation will partner with, and not duplicate, the efforts of the other school affiliated organizations to jointly accomplish important goals for the sake of excellence in our school system. As a recent example of such a partnership, the Foundation and the Elementary PTA joined efforts to raise funds to purchase new technology for the elementary schools. Through the Foundation’s Annual Gala fundraiser more than $8,000 was raised in gifts and pledges for this purpose. The PTA promoted the Gala to its members while the Foundation actively solicited and collected these funds — an example of each of our organizations doing what we do best for the mutual benefit of the students.
While this is a concrete example of a successful partnership, we anticipate there are many, many other ways for the Foundation to partner with school and community organizations such as the PTA’s, Boosters, and other non-profit organizations. We look forward to collaborating and working with all of these groups and our corporate and individual donors to enhance the excellence in education in the City of Falls Church. These partnerships will be especially important during the immediately upcoming budget years given the forecast of a slow recovery from the recent economic recession.
Partnerships with the Education Foundation will be especially important during the upcoming budget years.
Our Charter tasks the Foundation to not only implement immediate projects, but to also plan and fund longer-term strategic initiatives to prepare our students for the challenges of the 21st century. Currently, funds raised are either used for projects such as the “Wilden After School Program,” grants such as support for the Robotics team, and dedicated scholarships. Future initiatives will likely be funded through the Endowment. The Foundation’s funds are overseen by a professional investment firm tasked to manage the portfolio based on a long-term investment horizon.
The Falls Church Education Foundation is:
• Overseen by a dedicated Board of Directors who meet at least quarterly to set policy and direction for the Foundation. The School Superintendent and a School Board member serve on the Board enabling them to provide direct input and coordination regarding Foundation activities and initiatives.
• Managed by an Executive Directive, together with a part-time assistant and bookkeeper, who between them have over 30 years of experience in fundraising, finance, and administration. Our employees have the necessary skill sets to carry out the Foundation’s mission guided by policy from the Board of Directors.
• Supported by a very capable, energetic, and enthusiastic group of community volunteers who are the back bone of the successful fundraising and operations of our Foundation.
• Capable of accepting many types of gifts — not only gifts of cash, but also gifts of stock, property including real estate, bequests and planned gifts such as charitable remainder trusts. These gifts provide for a legacy of excellence in education in our community.
Additional information about the Falls Church Education Foundation’s activities and opportunities for you to get involved and support these efforts can be found on our newly revamped website at www.fcedf.org. Our community has a long-standing record of respect for, pride in, and support of the education of our children. I hope that you will take the initiative to join us in this most important effort . . . . their future success.
Dan Gardner is president of the Falls Church Education Foundation. He served as mayor of the City of Falls Church from 2000 – 2006.