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Hewlett Foundation giving money to Berkeley

Original post made by Poor Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2007

At the time of year when I feel poorest with all the "donations" I am expected to give to my kids' schools in terms of fundraisers and contributions, I hear that the Hewlett Foundation is giving a huge amount of money to Berkeley. I am not that poor, just feel it and feel for those who are.

Now wouldn't it be nice of the Foundation which is based in Palo Alto were to think of their own public schools. After all, the amount of HP parents who send their kids to school here must be pretty high so keeping their employees happy would be a bonus. Wouldn't it be nice if they could donate to the local schools rather than another bond issue or parcel tax.

The phrase "Charity begins at home" comes to mind.

Comments (10)

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Posted by Peter
a resident of Southgate
on Sep 11, 2007 at 9:24 am

Poor Parent,
Actually, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which made the gift to UC Berkeley, is located in Menlo Park. It is also totally independent of Hewlett-Packard and also independent of the Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation. Here's a link to the foundation website.

Web Link

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Posted by Carpe Diem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2007 at 10:27 am

Another thing to keep in mind is that you have to ask in order to receive. The folks in Berkeley must have had a cause for which they were willing to spend time writing a compelling grant application. They won. Good for them. We can do the same thing, too. Will we??

This reminds me of the public backlash when MI won their grant. They took the time to apply. Why the sour grapes?

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Posted by sigh
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 11, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Good grief, do you REALLY want yet ANOTHER MI thread?

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Carpe Diem - do you REALLY want to start another MI thread? Cause I happy to go with it. Your question has already been answered, but I'll answer it again. The difference is that PAUSD is a public school system with limited resources. The resources are not doled out on a 'first come first serve' basis, like a white sale where we all have to line up at the doors waiting to rush in and grab grab grab what we can. A grant opportunity is a potential resource of the school district - that ~should~ be available to the school district to serve its students in the broadest most effective way possible. The fact that the school district MISMANAGED this grant opportunity isn't a feather in MI's cap - its a shame on you to the PAUSD BOE and STAFF, that instead of working on a way to use grant application for the greater benefit of all the elementary children in PAUSD (for example for a broader language program) - instead chose to apply for that grant in the narrowest way possible, to serve as FEW kids as possible with a specialized program, serving only those few people who were banging on the doors of the store at 5am in the morning - waiting to rush and grab grab grab what they could.

The district staff ~should~ be using district wide resources in a way that best fulfills district wide priorities. In the case of the MI grant application they have mismanaged this potential resource.

Your name - carpe diem - which means "Sieze the Day" is really perfectly illustrative of the short sited mentality at play here. Sieze what you can NOW, for YOUR best interests, and the heck with what happens tomorrow, or for anyone else. That's a severe mismanagement of the PAUSD public school system, and the public will be watching for board members, superintendent and staff who recognize this for what it is, and who will rectify the really poor and short sighted decisions of the prior board and staff in the recent pass.

If I were you, I wouldn't spend so much time patting yourself on the back for this sort of selfish, short sited behavior. What goes around comes around.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 11, 2007 at 12:46 pm

So what's the grant for?

Berkeley's school system's not like Palo Alto--very diverse, racially and economically. Rich families in the hills and areas that are Oakland north in some of the flats. And, of course, a strong tradition of activism. The last I read about was Alice Water's attempt to get better school food.

Frankly, there's less of me-firstism than there is here. Also more lunacy.

In other words, I don't think the Hewlett Foundation owes the district anything. I'd love to see, frankly, better management in EPA and then see a grant go there in a situation where the money actually improves the school system.

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Posted by another parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2007 at 1:09 pm

The Hewlett Foundation gave the money to UC Berkeley to endow 100 professorships. The goal is to allow Berkeley to continue to compete in the top rank of hiring and retaining faculty.

Most foundations do not support operating expenses for continuing programs-particularly public schools.

What makes Palo Alto Public Schools a worthy grant recipient? Why do we expect other people to support our kids and our schools? We are a relatively wealthy community with a comparatively well funded school system. While I would argue that we should do a whole lot more, I think it is up to us. All of us, not just the super wealthy among us, but you too.

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Posted by Do you comprehend what you read?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2007 at 1:16 pm

This gift is to the U.C. Berkeley endowment to fund 100 faculty chair. It has nothing to do with subsidizing K-12 public schools in Berkeley, Palo Alto or East Palo Alto.

Web Link

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Posted by clarifier
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2007 at 3:54 pm

The donation to Berkeley was made by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, not the corporate entity of Hewlett Packard.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2007 at 11:35 am

Thanks for the clarifications--UC Berkeley can definitely use the endowments. A lot's expected of the school and it's been underfunded for nearly 40 years.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2007 at 10:30 pm

UC Berkeley could use a lot of infrastructure money. It's a good school but classrooms and facilities are in bad shape. It's too bad the money will only be going to professorshipes.

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

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