Talk about a challenge: Raising $4 million for Menlo Park’s schools in a single year. That’s what the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF) aims to do — with the help of parents, local business, and the broader community. As part of the ambitious effort, the organization has rolled out a new matching grant that it hopes will inspire additional donations to the MPAEF.
Explains MPAEF Executive Director Lynne Van Tilburg, “The Foundation 500 Challenge is an incredible opportunity for those who have yet to donate to the MPAEF. The grant kicks in for new or increased donations. It’s like instantly doubling your donation, so we hope the community will take full advantage of the incentive before the program concludes next month.”
As its name suggests, the Foundation 500’s goal is to raise $500,000 — half through new or increased donations and half through the grant, which is being funded by a group of generous district families.
“The challenge grant is crucial in helping us address the current situation in our schools, where state funding keeps declining while enrollment keeps increasing. Like all of the money we raise, the Foundation 500 funds will enable us to continue to support an enriched education filled with art teachers, music teachers, science aides, and librarians, as well as reduced class sizes and teaching innovation through the Jeanie Ritchie Grant Program,” says Van Tilburg.
While District parents are especially encouraged to give, the MPAEF hopes that local businesses and other community members will consider taking advantage of the Foundation 500 Challenge. Van Tilburg reminds us, “Everyone benefits when our schools are strong.”