News


Foundation gives its largest-ever gift to schools

$4.9 million gift from Palo Alto Partners in Education represents 4,600 donations

The independent, parent-led foundation that raises money for Palo Alto public schools presented a $4.9 million donation at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.

The funds from Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) will be allocated on a per-student basis to underwrite classroom aides, specialists in reading, math, science and the arts, student guidance, college and career counseling and electives ranging from music to industrial technology.

This year's contribution represents more than 4,600 donations from parents, community members and local businesses, PiE said. It is the largest in the history of the nine-year-old foundation, which last year raised $4.4 million for the schools, amounting to more than 2 percent of the district's operating budget.

It includes a single, $50,000 contribution from Palo Alto Realtor Juliana Lee.

"As an immigrant from Taiwan, I hope to lead the way in local philanthropy," Lee said of her gift.

"There are many Chinese families who move here mainly to send their children to Palo Alto schools. I hope other families will follow my example and give as much as possible to benefit our community and help keep schools strong."

Terry Godfrey, PiE's board co-president and CEO, called the donation a "collective big gift -- assembled over many months by hundreds of parents volunteers and thousands of donors -- to preserve the excellence of our public schools.

"Working together we demonstrated once again that we can fund the kinds of programs we want for our children but that the district can no longer afford," Godfrey said.

"These PiE dollars will increase the number of caring adults on our campuses, provide hands-on arts and science and a rich array of electives for kids to explore, and ensure that more counselors are available to support all our kids."

PiE board members confer with school-district officials to set priorities for the funds.

At the elementary level, this year's gift will go toward classroom aides, instructional assistants, reading and math specialists, and art and music classes.

In middle schools, the funds will go toward academic guidance and programs to promote social and emotional development, student connectedness and grade-level transitions. They also will go toward expanding electives, including music, creative writing, arts, broadcast journalism, biotechnology and industrial technology.

At the high-school level, funds will go toward increased staffing for counseling, student guidance and added electives, including engineering, career technology, media and the arts.

Since its inception in 2004-05, PiE has donated more than $23 million to Palo Alto schools, which has a current K-12 enrollment of 12,396.

Superintendent Kevin Skelly called PiE a "bedrock of financial support" to the school district.

"Palo Altans rightly expect excellence in our schools and have demonstrated their commitment with this gift," Skelly said.

Chris Kenrick

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Long-Time PAUSD Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Thank you. The tireless volunteers and staff of PiE have my and my family's gratitude for the incredible (and hard) work they do on behalf of every child in Palo Alto. Thank you all, and thank you to all the families and businesses that contribute. I don't know Juliana Lee but am so impressed with her leadership.


Like this comment
Posted by Palygal
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Hooray and thank you!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Schools Lover
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm

This is GREAT news for schools. Thank you so much, everyone who gave to PiE! PiE donors fund programs that make a big difference for our kids.


Like this comment
Posted by EJ
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Thank you PiE volunteers and contributors! We are lucky to live in this community!


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm

A huge thank you to everyone who gave to support our schools and our kids. Education and opportunity are the building blocks of our future, thank you for making both available.


Like this comment
Posted by Three time Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm

The list of thank yous required to respond appropriately to this wonderful news is too long to enumerate. To the thousands of generous individuals and businesses that support our schools and our youth, take a bow. To the tireless commitment of the many volunteers that fuel the engines of Partners in Education, you are deeply admired and appreciated.


Like this comment
Posted by hmm
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Thanks, Palo Altans
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Amazing! THANK YOU to all donors! This funding is really great for PA schools!


Like this comment
Posted by hmm
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Rachel
a resident of Ohlone School
on Feb 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Thank you to all of the dedicated and generous parents and community members of Palo Alto who supported PiE! I am grateful that PiE funds allow for extra caring adults to enrich each of our children's academic experiences.


Like this comment
Posted by SuperD
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Thanks to all the PiE volunteers and to all those who donated to PiE! Your contributions help keep our schools top notch!


Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Wow! Incredible community support for our children!


Like this comment
Posted by Carrie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm

That money will go a LONG way!


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 26, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Thank you to everyone for every dollar that goes to our kids and their educational success.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Congratulations and great work. The given data indicate a mean value of just over $1000 per donation. I am curious what the median value would be.


Like this comment
Posted by expectation
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm

odds that PAUSD staff get a bigger than expected raise now?


Like this comment
Posted by 4good
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

PiE funds pay for art teachers, science instructors, counselors and other caring adults that make our schools a better place for children. While we wish public funds would pay for these things, reality is they don't. Thank you to all the community members and parents that donated to PiE so that every student from young fives to seniors in high school in our public school system benefit.


Like this comment
Posted by Ellie
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

If only helping children at disadvantaged schools could generate a tenth of this excitement. More money for those who need it least.


Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

Thank you to the PiE Donors and Volunteers who help make our District a wonderful place!


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

To Ellie. I'm very sympathetic with your sentiment. Keep in mind, these don't have to be mutually exclusive. I give to PiE, but I give much more to organizations that support disadvantaged kids and families. I expect (hope) many others do that as well.


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm

There is good reason that this money has increased, it is because the number of PAUSD families have increased.

I would like to see a breakdown of some of these figures.

What percentage of PAUSD families contributed?
What percentage of PAUSD families contributed last year?
What percentage of PAUSD families contributed five years ago?

One large gift should not be taken to mean to much, after all Juliana Lee is a local realtor who is advertising her business all over Palo Alto and how much of this can be considered as promotional/ self serving purposes.

The percentage increase in the dollar amount is not the same as a breakdown which attempts to figure out how many families are no longer contributing to PIE.

There are many of us who are pretty disgusted at how the PTA hoodwinked so many Palo Alto residents to vote for the library bond. Yes, I know the PTA and PIE are different organizations, but they are the same people and individuals. I was annoyed by the subtle blackmail of "vote for the library to show your support of children". I am not alone in feeling duped. I feel sure that many families seeing how their property taxes have increased due to the library bond decided to refuse to support PIE.

I suppose the editors may choose to delete any criticism of this "gift" as there are already deleted comments. However, I feel I must say what I think.


Like this comment
Posted by three cheers
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Parent, I don't think that breakdown matters. If PiE can continue delivering increases in donations by this amount, frankly I don't care how they do it!


Like this comment
Posted by Sheesh
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

@Parent: Your thoughts on the large contribution of the realtor are rude and thoughtless; where's your filter? It's one thing to pop-off in conversation, but posting online, the messages should be re-read befre submission. I don't care if it's self-promotion, it's a generous gift.

My children cannot find other students who have extra cash for fun activities. There are so many residents in this town who are living mortgage to mortgage and cannot afford to donate to PiE. Is it really worth living here for the schools if children can't have any fun, even going to a movie?

So thank you to all the generous PiE donors!


Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I am VERY grateful that PiE allows so many wonderful programs to occur in our school (Spectra Art, Junior Museum Science), that it allows us to continue a robust offering of electives, to support our student through counselors and classroom aides, etc.

@Parent - PiE is a fundraising organization, not a political group. What the PTA has done in the past has no bearing on PiE, although as you say, many of the same people volunteer for both because they care about our schools and kids. Feel free to volunteer for PTA, PiE or the Library Commission if you aren't pleased with the way things are run.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton

on Jun 6, 2017 at 6:20 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 7,175 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 14 comments | 2,390 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 2,295 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 826 views

Is racism also a local problem?
By Diana Diamond | 23 comments | 611 views

 

Register today!

‚ÄčOn Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More