Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation Gets Corporate Lending Hand
By Lookout Staff
October 7, 2013 – The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation announced Friday that it has received a $150,000 matching gift from a local business that could set a trend for corporate giving to the public schools.
The Malibu-based Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., which helps businesses build their credit, will make a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution of up to $150,000 through December 20. The company also will provide $100,000 of in-kind funding to help launch a summer high school internship program in partnership with the district.
The funds -- which are the result of the company’s EdAhead™ initiative -- marks the start of what foundation leaders expect will be “a long-term, multi-faceted partnership” between D&B Credibility and the district. The company also is sponsoring the Santa Monica 5000 race Sunday that benefits athletics in district schools.
“This is a remarkable demonstration of how corporations can support their local public schools, provide their employees a meaningful benefit and show genuine commitment to the community in which it operates,” said Linda Greenberg Gross, executive director of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation.
“We expect that our base of supporters will grow as a result of this matching gift challenge,” Gross said. “We are truly grateful to the company, its leadership and employees for their generosity.”
Through the EdAhead™ program, D&B Credibility matches within limits employee contributions to the company’s 529 plan, “effectively doubling the amount the employee is putting into his or her college savings account,” Foundation officials said.
The company then totals up the matched amounts for each office and donates an equal amount to the corresponding school district.
“We are so pleased to be making our first EdAhead donation through this major commitment,
and to help the Foundation raise even more money through a matching gift initiative,” said Jeff Stibel, the company’s chairman and CEO. “It is a program that is really paying it forward.”
The money will go towards the District’s “Vision for Student Success”initiative, the district-wide fundraising policy adopted in December 2011. As part of that
“Vision for Student Success” has proved to be a challenge, since this year schools have had to raise funds for the initiative as well as raising money for their existing budgets.
While the initiative is well on its way to being fully funded, it proved to be a controversial proposition when officials first floated the idea two years ago.
The centralized funding plan bars Parent-Teacher Associations from raising money to pay for teachers, classroom aides and other personnel as well as for “premium programs,” but it still allows parents to make direct donations to their children's schools for supplies and other materials, such as computers.
Money slated for programs and personnel is pooled and redistributed to all the schools in the district.
Though supporters of centralized fundraising argue that it will ensure equity in programs offered at Santa Monica and Malibu schools, its detractors worry that it could lead to a decline in donations and a loss of programs.
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