What does the Foundation do?
The Missoula Education Foundation has three program components: Classroom Grants, Scholarships, and our Teacher Recognition Program/Student Board
When was the Foundation created?
We were activated in 2007 as an initiative of the MCPS School Board – however, we operate separately, as a self-governed, separately funded organization. We maintain a cooperative, friendly relationship with the school district and are supportive of their staff, their initiatives, and their activities. Superintendent Mark Thane is an ex-officio Board Member; former Superintendent Jim Clark is also a voting member of our Board of Directors. We offer an annual report to the MCPS School Board; all Classroom Grants are subject to approval by MCPS; our Grant funding flows through MCPS Business Office.
Since 2007, we have made available over $175,000 in Creative Classroom Grant funds to teachers (educators) in the MCPS school district – these funds are not provided elsewhere in school budgets – and would not happen without MEF. MEF does not exist to supplant regular district funding, however.
What is your impact?
In 2017-2018, over 3,400 students within the MCPS system will be engaged in a Classroom Grant program (this does not include “overlap” involvement in upcoming years where programs may continue to have an impact…e.g. breakout boxes or supplies with a long lifespan). We reach roughly 1 in 3 MCPS students via Classroom projects. The Foundation Board has set at goal to increase CC Grant funding by 15% annually, every year going forward.
Do you have an Endowment?
MEF maintains a tax qualified scholarship Endowment. The “vision” for this Endowment is to fund a scholarship for every MCPS high school graduate attending an in-state college or university. Funds invested in this Endowment have an immediate and meaningful benefit, and provide a “forever” source of support to fund the education of Missoula’s MCPS graduates. Businesses may invest in this Endowment, and are eligible for a 20% tax credit; individuals may invest in this Endowment and enjoy up to a 40% tax credit (up to $10,000) per the guidelines within the Montana Endowment Tax Credit Legislation.
Is MEF a part of the school district?
MEF is separate from the MCPS school district, though we are proud to build goodwill and presence of mind for our excellent schools in Missoula, and to support them via our own programming. We do not receive financial support or subsidy from MCPS; we are self-governed and self-supporting.
Is Missoula Education Foundation affiliated with MEA?
No, we have no affiliation with the MEA. Per our bylaws, the MEA President sits on our Board of Directors.
But I already pay so many taxes…
MEF does not fund activities that are already included in the school district budget. We fund special programs that are “above and beyond” what is funded by tax dollars – and students would not have these unique opportunities without MEF. (MEF is also not the beneficiary of any public funds).
What is MEF’s position on X political/school board candidate?
MEF does not endorse any political candidate – for school board or otherwise. Our Board Members and staff reserve the right to have their own personal political views – however, MEF as an organization operates as a 501(c)3, and complies with all expectations and regulations pertaining to nonprofits: we do not advocate for political parties or candidates, and we do not lobby for specific causes.