Foundation Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Florence Township Education Foundation?
A: The Foundation is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The mission of the Foundation is one of supporting our schools and helping improve the educational excellence. The Foundation raises funds to support innovative programs through teacher grants when those programs are not regularly funded through the School District’s own budget.
Q: Who founded the Florence Township Education Foundation?
A: The Foundation came from a group of teachers and fellow township residents who wanted to see the schools flourish and grow muchin the way they have in the past. They saw an opportunity to take advantage of local businesses moving into town and through donations of people and business alike to work the schools into a solid foundation of educational excellence.
Q: What is the relationship between the Foundation and the Board of Education?
A: The Foundation is committed to working closely with the Board of Education and the District leadership to identify potential programs and services that are worthy of funding through grants. The Board of Education has appointed Superintendent, Donna Ambrosius as the liaison for the Board of Education to the Foundation. The Board of Education works closely with our grant winners to make sure the purchase of items and the implementation of programs is done smoothly and efficiently.
Q: Why does the School District need an Education Foundation?
A: Florence Township Schools have a long tradition of achievement and academic excellence. Education has been a priority for out community and we are all proud of our schools. However, the job of maintaining that level of excellence has become increasingly more difficult and challenging in the current economic environment. Often, in a time of fiscal restraint the immediate needs of the school override the vision and investment in the future of the school. That is especially true when so much of the District’s operating budget is allocated to a government-mandated fixed cap. As a result, discretionary spending is often squeezed and little funds are left to build on and expand the curriculum or the “out-of-the box” initiatives.
Q: What is the difference between the Board of Education and the Foundation?
A: Education foundations are privately operated, nonprofit organizations established to assist the public schools. They are not bound by the current regulations of expenses and caps on programs and funding that the School District is bound to uphold. The Foundation is here to offset the need to fund certain programs through the school budget and can grant teachers the funds needed to see their vision come to life. The Foundation is pivotal in building bridges between the public schools and the community and fostering environments where students of all ages can thrive and succeed.
Q: Do other public schools have education foundations?
A: Yes, quite a few communities in the area have education foundations and there are hundreds across the country. In our area Burlington Township, Bordentown, and Hamilton to name a few. They all have similar missions to provide the school district the support needed to move forward and continue the academic excellence.
Q: What is the Florence Township Education Foundation's process for funding projects for the schools?
A: The Florence Township Education Foundation Grant Committee reviews grant applications in the Spring. Specific funding decisions are based on advancing the organization's goals to support curriculum-based projects equitably across all schools within the district.
Trustees review applications based on the following criteria:
Grants that enhance the existing academic programs, curriculum, guidance or counseling functions.
That impact a broad number of students and have lasting and sustainable educational value.
That are innovative and creative in teaching and/or learning
That implement new and experimental methods of teaching
That can have results that are evaluated by some measure of quality and be expanded if successful
Trustees will not approve the following applications because of the criteria:
Furniture or facilities for infrastructure improvement
Classroom consumables (that are part of the normal school budget)
Salaries or stipends for teachers and staff
The benefit for an individual student
Snacks or food to be served during programs, transportation to or from events
Supplies or items that should be readily provided by the school district as part of the regular budget.
Funds for non-specific expenses.
Items for extracurricular stipend paid organizations that are also booster supported
Q: Can the Foundation Fund a Teacher?
A: No. While the Foundation can fund professional development, it cannot fund salaries. Our grants fund new curriculum programs and initiatives.
Q: How will the Foundation raise funds?
A: The FTEF solicits funds throughout the year from corporations and individuals who recognize that excellence in our public education is essential to the social and economic fabric of our community. We are not intended to supplant or replace the public funding of our schools.
We will focus our fundraising efforts on corporate donations as well as partnering with local businesses to build relationships that will help build the Foundations credibility and sustainability. Along with corporate donations we will seek individual donations and matching gift donations through individual companies. We will hold fundraisers throughout the year that seek to bring the community into the fold as well as the current school population. These fundraisers will be innovative and have a broader appeal to the community outside the school district.
Q: How is the Foundation different from the PTO, PTA and PO that also support the school?
A: While the PTO’s raise money for specific schools, education foundations allow for funding of all the public schools in the district, thereby expanding the pool of resources available to teachers, staff and administration.
Both types of organizations are crucial to the success of our school district. Collaboration and transparency with other parent groups is critical to our district and the values of the community. Members of many of our organizations volunteer and hold positions on several groups and create and open dialogue and share opportunities that would fit the mission of each organization.
Q: How can I participate in the Foundation?
A: There are three ways to become involved with the Foundation:
You can give an individual donation -- Donations are tax-deductible and may be in the form of checks or cash. To learn more about donating click here.
You can become a volunteer -- We welcome anyone who wishes to donate their time, energy and talent to help the FTEF become a success and meet its goals of supporting our great school district.
Attend one of fundraisers -- We have several fundraisers throughout the year that you can attend and support. Click on the events calendar here to see what events we have upcoming.