Frequently Asked Questions about the Rondout Valley Education Foundation

To clarify the intent of the Foundation and the potential it holds for our community we have tried to anticipate some of the questions you may have about this new organization and provide answers. We hope this will help you become more familiar with the Rondout Valley Education Foundation (RVEF).

What exactly is the RVEF?
The Rondout Valley Education Foundation, Inc. (RVEF), is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, which will serve as a venue through which a school/community partnership may provide access to resources not available directly to the school district.

Why was the Foundation created?
The Rondout Valley Education Foundation has been established to provide funding for educational opportunities beyond the scope of the local school budget. Federal, state and regional demands on the schools have created enormous pressures regarding the services required for both the students and employees of school districts. At the same time, federal funding has decreased and state funding has not increased sufficiently to support these demands. The result is a shifting of resources that sometimes leave smaller, innovative, but not mandated programs in annual jeopardy. Competing demands for funding from the same resource pool continue to have an impact on program development and maintenance of exceptional initiatives. It is in this economic environment, that resources other than those provided by federal, state and local taxes may be needed to provide all that our community wants for its students. Such resources can be provided through school district affiliation with an education foundation.

So if the District’s annual budget does not receive voter approval, the Foundation will kick in and provide the funding?
No. The RVEF was established to enhance, not replace what the District budget is required to provide.

Does the RVEF have a mission statement?
Yes, and this mission statement guides all of our grant reviews and board activities.

The mission of the Rondout Valley Education Foundation is to enhance the educational opportunities for the children of the Rondout Valley Central Schools, in partnership with the larger community.

Who can submit grant requests to the RVEF?
We anticipate that students and staff of RVCSD and service providers working with students of RVCSD will submit most of the request proposals for grants from the RVEF. However, any community member can submit a request proposal for a grant that is focused on enhancing educational opportunities for the children of the RVCSD.

How can I get involved with the Foundation, other than a donation?
The Board of Directors for the Foundation needs strong, active members representing the depth of talent and diversity that is present in our community. Several Board positions are currently open and professional experience in areas of finance, business, accounting and law would help the Board reach its potential.

The board of directors also recognizes that volunteer assistance in almost every aspect of Foundation activities will be needed to allow the highest percentage of funds raised to be used for educational opportunities for students. Talents and expertise in the areas of organizing and running events, starting and maintaining an alumni association, publicity and marketing will be especially helpful.

If you have an interest in enhancing educational opportunities for students in the Rondout Valley District we invite you to talk with a current Foundation Board member or contact the Foundation for a volunteer information/application form: RVEF,  PO Box 3, Stone Ridge, NY 12484, or email us at info@rvefoundation.org.

There are many community organizations such as the PTA, sports and music boosters, and the Rondout Valley Scholarship Fund that already support the students at our schools. What is the difference between the RVEF and these other organizations?
The similarities are clear. All of these groups exist to provide needed support to our schools and students. Each group has been successful in their mission thanks to strong community support. Our schools and students have benefited immeasurably because of the dedication of the people in these groups. But the structure and focus of the RVEF is not exactly the same.
The RVEF will be able to:
            - accept tax deductible donations from individuals and other organizations.
            - provide a legal community partner to the school by which it can apply for various grants. Numerous grants are not available directly to school districts.
            - engage in direct fund raising efforts.
            - provide grants to support innovative projects, not able to be funded by the district.
            - provide grants to students for participation in local programs not available within the district, or
            - provide monetary support to students working on innovative projects within the district.

Do other schools have a foundation?
School Districts around the state including Bronxville, Fayetteville-Manlius, Arlington, Clinton and Millbrook have benefited by their affiliation with education foundations. Nonetheless, those involved with the Rondout Valley Education Foundation are the first to bring this innovative idea to fruition in Ulster County distinguishing the Rondout Valley School Community as one interested in continuing its tradition of community support and visionary thinking that brought the district together over 50 years ago.

Who decides how the money raised is spent?
The Foundation is run by a board of directors comprised of a diverse group of community volunteers. The bylaws call for the Foundation Board to include no less than one and no more than two members of the RVCSD Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools of the RVCSD, as an ex officio, non-voting member, in order to have a collaborative relationship with the RVCSD that supports both School District goals and RVEF goals. Each Foundation Board member recognizes that they are representatives for all donors to the Foundation as well as role models for the children of our community and take the responsibility of considering all grant proposals and financial undertakings very seriously. The grant applications undergo a review process with a rubric that is focused on ensuring that the grants awarded will benefit as many students as possible, are in line with the goals of the Foundation and the School District and are consistent with RVEF's mission.

Since there are school board members and the school superintendent sitting on your board, how independent is your grant process from the directives of the school’s administration?
The Foundation is an independent organization governed by the Board of Directors. The success of other school related foundations has depended on actively involving members of the school district administration and school board on the board of directors.  This guarantees that we are all working toward the same goals that benefit the children of our district. All members of the Board of Directors have an equal voice.

Could we do even more for our students?
The potential for the Foundation to make a significant impact on the educational opportunities available for the students of the RVCSD is enormous. The Foundation will be able to move ahead provided that there are:
1. Enough innovative ideas, or special projects that surface through grant requests, and
2. Enough funds are raised through grant writing; individual and corporate donations; and fund raising events to turn ideas and dreams into realities.
The Foundation will need the support and expertise of many members of the community to realize its full potential as a driving force for enhancing the educational opportunities for our children.