The Cabrillo Education Foundation, a nonprofit that works with the community to fund critical programs for the Cabrillo Unified School District, has announced leadership changes. Corrine Bucher, the foundation’s former board president, has been tapped as the organization’s next executive director. Matthew Haugen, co-founder of Element Real Estate in Half Moon Bay, has been appointed board president.
Bucher has lived on the Coastside for 15 years. An expectant mother when she arrived, Bucher quickly immersed herself in her newfound community. She became president of the Coastside Mothers’ Club and helped the group organize fundraising drives and foster community activism.
When her kids entered Hatch Elementary School, Bucher joined the Hatch Parent Teacher Organization before climbing the ranks to president of the PTO. When her kids left Hatch for Cunha Intermediate School, she joined the Cabrillo Education Foundation. She became president of the nonprofit in 2016.
“They had such a strong vision for touching as many kids as possible, across the district,” said Bucher. “As a community, one of the things that’s so unique about Half Moon Bay is that we look out for each other. That’s our superpower. And CEF embodied that, for me.”
Haugen, who grew up in Montara, worked in Silicon Valley for 15 years before forming Element Real Estate with a lifelong friend. The transition rekindled Haugen’s deep affinity for the Coastside, inspiring him to take the plunge into various community organizations. He joined the El Granada Parent Teacher Organization and began connecting with members of the Cabrillo Education Foundation, many of whom he had known for decades.
“My interest in the organization revolved around the fact that it was broad in its scope,” he said. “It wasn’t one small group or childcare program. This was an organization that was designed to help lift education across all the schools in the district.”
The nonprofit has made significant contributions in recent years. Last year, it allocated more than $160,000 toward literacy initiatives, college and career readiness courses, and a host of individual innovation grants.
“The pointy end of the spear, in terms of our impact on the community, is the amount of money that we can raise,” said Haugen. “Without funds, we can’t do any of that. Part of our vision for the coming year is to improve messaging within the community so that stakeholders — teachers, community members, parents — understand our mission.
“We really need to improve our marketing and communications,” he added, “which will obviously help enable the impact we have on the school district.”
Both Haugen and Bucher acknowledged that the district’s funding crisis will strain its ability to provide core educational programs and infrastructure. While the average public school district in the county spends nearly $12,000 per student, the Cabrillo Unified School District spends around $7,500 per student — 35 percent lower than the national average.
“That’s going to be a challenge for us,” said Haugen. “We want to make sure that we stay innovative and keep funding these interesting, unique programs that provide value while there’s going to be challenges just to keep the lights on.”
“A crisis can become a great opportunity,” added Bucher. “It’s the idea that we can leverage this to come together, as a community, on a deeper level. And work towards raising the level of education and the support of our kids. To me, that feels inspiring.”
For more information on the Cabrillo Education Foundation, visit CEFfund.org.