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Foundation solicits input for endowment allocations

foundation aims to support teachers, literacy, science

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 1:44 pm

At Cabrillo Education Foundation’s first brainstorming session of the year, Jeff Peris and Peter Lowenberg were excited to make the case for why supporting elementary reading programs is important.

“All education builds on literacy,” said Peris. “All coursework and all of life, for that matter, is based on what you read and what you comprehend.”

CEF members expected Peris and Lowenberg, representing nonprofit organization Coastside Hope, to be two of many attendees discussing how to spend proceeds of its endowment fund for the 2013-2014 school year, but few attended the Sept. 19 meeting.

No dates have been selected for future meetings, but organizers promise more, including one especially for teachers later this fall, said CEF Board President Michele Hannegan. Until then, anyone with ideas of how to spend the CEF funds can fill out surveys, available at www.ceffund.org, to provide input.

Established in 2003, the nonprofit foundation has a goal of enriching Cabrillo public schools through fundraising.

CEF accepts donated money or property, and then invests the proceeds. Only the gains from the invested money are spent, leaving an ongoing endowment.

This year, interest earned on the endowment totaled $90,000 and is being used to fund elementary school science programs, pilot programs to determine how to incorporate technology into classrooms, a high school elective animation course, substitute teacher training and more.

Last spring, CEF was prepared to spend $65,000 on a nonprofit program called Playworks to make the playground a more positive environment. Parent Teacher Organizations from each of the participating elementary schools were asked to budget $10,000 to help bring the program to the Coastside.

Hatch Elementary School’s PTO members decided to pilot the program and offered a one-day training event to 35 volunteers and school staff earlier this year.

However, because Playworks does not have enough staff, the program will not launch in Cabrillo this fall.

“Playworks will always be on our list so long as people are interested, but … we’re moving on,” said Hannegan.

Hannegan said that the foundation is using its share of the money that would have been spent on Playworks to fund programs that support literacy, science and teachers.

CEF committee members say they are on the lookout for good ideas for the money. Committees make recommendations to the board, and the board votes on how to allocate the funds.

“We’ll talk to anyone who’s interested in getting involved,” Hannegan said.

In the meantime, it is up to the individual PTOs to decide how to spend the Playworks money they raised separately from CEF.

“We value Playworks,” said Hatch PTO Board President Corrine Bucher. “We also realize that the state of the economy and the budget cuts affect the schools differently every time,” she added, acknowledging that the school’s needs are subject to change.

Hatch PTO members chose to use the funds to bring two Amity Institute scholars to help support English-only teachers, and also increase the hours of an employee hired to teach kindergartners through third-graders about movement in a program called Kindermovement.

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