What We Do:
The Shelby County Schools Education Foundation raises money from the private sector to help fill in some of the many major funding gaps from public sources in the Shelby County Schools. In addition, the Foundation seeks to ensure a steady flow of accurate information about the district both into the Memphis metropolitan community-at-large and to regulatory and funding sources both within and without Tennessee.
Cash and certain in-kind donations of materials to the Foundation are understood to be deductible from federal taxes but the Foundation caveats all potential donors to check first with their own legal and tax advisers.
We believe strongly that the district we serve is the "best" provider of K-12 public education in our region based on empirical scores on standardized tests, dropout rates, graduation percentages, and numbers of graduates who go on to advanced academic or skills training.
Just as strongly, however, we believe that the Shelby County Schools, clearly a "great" district by national standards, faces a challenging future simply by suffering from a continuing gap between its per pupil investment levels from both those of the State of Tennessee and, even more dramatically, the nation as a whole. To put that statement into perspective, in 2007 Shelby County's per student investment was 80% of the national average and 94% of the state average. With over 90% of students in the community attending public schools we must continue to invest in a program that has an excellent track record.
The Foundation assists Shelby County Schools in bridging the gap to excellence by providing the necessary funding to pursue targeted programs. Accordingly, these are among the programs the Foundation provides in order to support the district both financially and to help create accurate public perceptions about it:
· Community outreach (including the annual Race for Education)
· Grants for arts, music and physical education programs that are either under-funded or not funded at all
· Grants for teaching excellence, particularly relating to technology
· Scholarships to graduates of the district who plan on careers of public service
· Recognition of district graduates who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers and made significant contributions to the public good
· Art contests for high school students
· Lecture series for high school student leaders
· Community-based funding for major programs outside what the state and county funding formula can provide