Fixing the Crisis… (1/10)

Fixing the crisis: Give back to school

By David Kreinces, ETF PM (1/28/10)

Which crisis? Unemployment, housing foreclosures, healthcare reform, global warming, the crisis around the corner we can’t see? The answer: Education!

America’s global leadership is due, in part, to the strength of our school system. Without our top universities, it’s hard to believe our country’s prosperity would be the same. When we take a close look at Yale University, as one example, it’s interesting to learn that roughly 35 percent of Yale’s annual operating budget comes from its endowment fund (a donation-sponsored investment fund designed to support ongoing operations for a school long-term).

Therefore, I think it’s reasonable to infer that the success of America’s endowment fund system has also been an important factor in our prosperity as a nation.

Given the vital importance of education, and the great success of the endowment fund system, many communities are now working to build endowment funds for their K-12 public schools. Locally, the Conejo Schools Foundation is a young nonprofit organization focused on building an endowment fund and improving the Conejo Valley through enhanced education.

By consolidating the main fundraising infrastructure for all of the 27 public schools in our Conejo Valley Unified School District, we achieve great economies of scale that allow for much larger charitable grants to each of our individual schools. CVUSD includes Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park.

Donors can apply their funds as they see fit. Donations through CSF can be “restricted” for a specific purpose that the donor selects within an individual school, or the funds can be “unrestricted” and applied by the CSF board to the foundation’s many important initiatives. Either way, the growth and success of CSF translates into far greater resources for all of the schools in our district, and greater prosperity for our Conejo Valley community as a whole.

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