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Nearly $312,500 Raised By Education Foundations for Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools in December

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By Lookout Staff

January 12, 2016 -- Fundraising for Santa Monica-Malibu public schools picked up steam last month, reaching almost $312,500 in December alone, leaders said.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) said its six-figure total in donations was spurred by a $90,000 matching grant from Dun and Bradstreet.

In all, 394 individual donations totaling $312,495 were made during December to SMMEF, said Ann Conkle, a spokesperson.

“We are so pleased with the community’s tremendous response to the matching grant and grateful for Dun & Bradstreet’s leadership,” said Kathleen Rawson, President of the SMMEF Board of Directors. “The funds raised are a wonderful example of the tremendous impact businesses, parents and community members can have on our schools when working together.”

Dun and Bradstreet also contributed $20,000 to continue to fund a paid high-school internship and college scholarship program for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District this summer, Conkle said.

She said that in 2015, six high school students received paid internships or college scholarships through the program, which is called EdAhead.

2016 will mark the third year SMMUSD has received funds from EdAhead, she said.

EdAhead is the nation’s first education savings initiative with a multiple match, she said. The company first matches employees’ contributions to their 529 college education plans, up to a set amount each year, and then adds the match to each employee account on an annual basis, she said.

Employee-matched contributions then activate a second match, with the aggregate per office match donated to the local schools in which that office operates, Conkle said.

Last year alone, EdAhead donated more than $300,000 to a variety of schools nationwide for programs related to science, technology, engineering and math, its website said. SMMUSD was one of the largest recipients, with a contribution of $100,000 and $25,800 for internships and scholarships, it said.

About $100,000 was donated to Los Angeles schools that year as well, the website said. Smaller donations went to schools in Tempe and Tuscon, in Arizona; Short Hills, New Jersey; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Last year, Dun and Bradstreet topped the Foundation’s long list of corporate contributors, alone in the category of businesses that donated $100,000 or more.

December’s donations came as SMMEF continues on the road toward raising $3.7 million by June 30, the end of the SMMUSD’s 2016-2017 fiscal year.

It included a $25,000 gift from Kaiser Permanente, which is part of the foundation’s Corporate Partners Program. The health-care giant is due to open a medical office in Santa Monica next spring at Tenth Street and Broadway.

Donations to SMMEF are spread throughout SMMUSD, including arts education for its 4,900 elementary-school students and helps fund instructional assistants and enrichment grants for the district’s 16 schools.

Conkle said the money is often used for science, technology, engineering and math, or visual and performing arts programs.

Some schools are also earmarking the funds to more health clerks, add on-site counseling programs or run programs on student wellness.

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