As public school districts in California continue to face inadequate funding from the State, Piedmont has generated a stunning double-influx of local funding for the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD). First, on November 5, 2019, Piedmont voters approved ballot Measures G and H which will provide $13.4 million annually through parcel taxes for its schools. Then, in early January 2020, the Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF) concluded the 2019-2020 Giving Campaign, its largest, annual fundraiser for PUSD, by collecting a record-setting $3.2 million.
The Giving Campaign’s total of $3.2 million, a 14% increase from last year’s result, was comprised of donations from an impressive 1,300 households. Additionally, the Piedmont School Board, Piedmont Education Foundation Board, and six of the Piedmont Parent Club School Boards reached 100% participation—the strongest showing ever.
“The results of the Giving Campaign exceeded even our most optimistic expectations,” said Heather Frank, Executive Director of the Piedmont Education Foundation.
“We are especially thrilled that more than two-thirds of all families in PUSD made a donation, and more empty-nesters and households without children made donations than in past years. This shows our community, as a whole, values education and recognizes that strong schools are the cornerstone of Piedmont and worth the investment.”Heather Frank, PEF Executive Director
Funds raised by the Giving Campaign help to maintain low student to teacher ratios as well as essential programs including libraries and librarians, art and music, teachers, S.T.E.A.M. training, electives, A.P. classes, counselors, and special education support. The Piedmont Education Foundation will donate the funds raised by the Giving Campaign to PUSD. A committee of Piedmont parents and community members, including members of each Parents’ Club and Support Group board, will then meet to learn more about the district’s needs and to distribute the funds across the schools. PUSD reports back on how funds were spent.
Why was the 2019-2020 Giving Campaign so successful? Campaign Co-Chairs and parents Nicki Gilbert, Emily Harrold, and Amelie Kappes believe it was all about teamwork. “This year’s unprecedented collaboration of the Giving Campaign Committee, PEF staff and board members, PUSD leadership, school principals, APT leadership and teachers, Piedmont Board of Education Members, School Parents Club Board Presidents, and leaders from all facets of our community came together like never before to articulate the critical need for community support for our schools. Everyone’s hard work paid off — for the benefit of our schools and our kids!”
The campaign kicked off on August 27, 2019 and ran for nineteen weeks. During this time, PEF and the Giving Campaign Committee—the largest ever at more than 60 volunteers— organized and spoke at numerous community events; hung signs and banners at the schools; conducted physical mailings, email campaigns, and text banks; wrote and published weekly articles in the Exedra, Piedmont Post, and Piedmont Portal; reached parents in the weekly school bulletins and class emails; amplified campaign messaging in PEF social media; distributed more than 800 Giving Campaign lawn signs; and engaged in personal outreach to hundreds of the highest-level donors. Additionally, a new series highlighting teachers in the district and written by Giving Campaign Communications Lead Samantha Nobles-Block called “Voices of Our Educators” ran in the Exedra, Piedmont Post, and on PEF’s website to wide praise.
“Without the Giving Campaign, our schools would look very different.”Randall Booker, Superintendent of the Piedmont Unified School District
“California has failed to provide school districts with sufficient funds to pay teachers appropriately. The outstanding result of the 2019-2020 Giving Campaign shows how much the Piedmont community values our teachers and our students. I am extremely grateful for our community’s generosity and faith in our schools,” said Booker.
Gabriel Kessler, a Piedmont Middle School teacher and President of the Association of Piedmont Teachers (APT), is also thrilled with the success of the 2019-2020 Giving Campaign. “On behalf of APT members, I would like to thank the community and PEF for raising over 3.2 million dollars for Piedmont Schools,” said Kessler. “On a daily basis, students and APT members—teachers, counselors, librarians, psychologists, and speech therapists — benefit from the ways in which these funds help support school programs, enrichment, arts, technology, the library, counseling, small class size, access to valuable resources, and much more. We feel lucky to have your help in building extraordinary schools.”
“We deeply appreciate and are incredibly proud of our community’s support for the schools,” said Amal Smith, president of the Piedmont Board of Education, “but our focus continues to be on Sacramento. Public education in California needs meaningful reform and legislative solutions to help ensure public school districts like PUSD are fully-funded and teacher and staff salaries reflect the value we put on the work they do. Essentials of a well-rounded education—libraries and librarians, music and art curriculum, counselors, and good facilities—should be funded by the state and not dependent on local funding from local community support.”
The Piedmont Education Foundation invites the community to join in a Giving Campaign Wrap-Up Celebration on Friday, January 31 at 3 p.m. at the Exedra Arch in Piedmont Park. Hot cocoa will be served and the Piedmont High School Troubadours will perform. For more information on the Giving Campaign, go to www.piedmontedfoundation.org/donate/giving-campaign.
About PEF Piedmont Education Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a vision of a school district that has the resources needed to provide students with an outstanding education in a supportive and inclusive environment. PEF’s mission is to provide sustained financial support to Piedmont schools through fundraising and community engagement. Led by a 22-member volunteer board of directors and supported by a professional office staff, PEF oversees the Giving Campaign, Spring Fling, the Student Directory, the Educational Speaker Series, and much more. PiedmontEdFoundation.org