MATAWAN-ABERDEEN EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE EDUCATION FOUNDATION?
The foundation’s purpose is to attract, house and distribute private gifts of cash and property to and for the exclusive use of the students of the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District.
2. WHO IS INVOLVED IN DIRECTING THE FOUNDATION?
It is managed and directed by a group of private citizens (trustees) representing many aspects of the area’s business, cultural, civic, and educational leadership. The Trustees and Associates are:
Allison Friedman - Chairperson
Amanda Knupp - Vice-Chair
Quin Bond - Board member
Lynn Nelson - Treasurer
Dawn L'Heureux - Trustee
Pat Perri - Trustee
Annette Anscoli, Board of Education Liaison (ex-officio)
Nelyda Perez, Superintendent of schools PreK-12
Mihel Liebmann, Assistant Superintendent of schools Prek-12
Joseph G. Majka, J.D., Director of Personnel
3. IS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND ADMINISTRATION INVOLVED?
The superintendent (or designee) and a representative of the Board of Education sit as permanent, ex-officio trustees. However, the vast majority of trustees are not directly connected with the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, except as interested citizens and parents committed to the betterment of public education.
4. WHAT TYPES OF THINGS DOES THE FOUNDATION FUND?
The trustees have selected five (5) primary areas of interest:
Technology The Arts, General Scholastic Enrichment, Professional Development, & Cultural Enrichment. The Foundation, however, is not limited to the above areas and may pursue such things as significant capital projects in the future.
5. WILL THESE GIFTS REDUCE THE TAXPAYERS’ OBLIGATION TO THE SCHOOLS?
No. The Foundation’s mission is to supplement, augment, and complement the basic school program by providing new educational opportunities that would not otherwise be available but through private resources.
6. WHO DECIDES WHAT PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS THE FOUNDATION WILL SUPPORT?
Essentially, the trustees will decide what is to be funded. However, donors to the Foundation may direct their contributions to specific areas. In addition, the Board of Education has the final legal say in accepting or rejecting any gift from the Foundation.
7.HOW DOES THE FOUNDATION RAISE ITS FUNDS?
Funds are raised from individuals, corporations, and other foundations. However, the methods used by the Foundation to attract private resources are not those commonly used by other school and school-related groups. Generally, the Foundations will be soliciting substantial contributions for specific projects and programs. The Foundation also will seek individual donations from outside of the district in the form of individual contributions from alumni, major corporations, and regional and national foundations. Donations can also be directed to the Foundation through the United Way and companies with Matching Gift/Contribution Programs. If your company encourages donations to the United Way or has another Matching Gift/Contribution Program, you can specifically direct these funds back into your community thereby enhancing the education of our children.
8. ARE THERE ANY ASSURANCES THAT THE FOUNDATION WILL USE ITS FUNDS AS INTENDED AND WILL NOT LOSE FUNDS THROUGH RISKY INVESTMENTS?
Yes. First, the Foundation is a non-profit corporation chartered by the State of New Jersey and subject to guidelines covering fund raising activities. Second, this corporation is granted exemption under section 501 (c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue code and subject to further reporting requirements and rules covering such items as annual distributions, jeopardy investments, conflicts of interest, restricted funds, etc.
9. ARE ALL DONATIONS TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
Donations are “eligible for tax deduction” in most all cases. Some taxpayers file the Form 1040 short form and since 1986 have not been permitted to deduct charitable contributions. Generally, However, a tax deduction can be taken for up to 50% of an individual’s annual adjusted gross income.
10. WILL THE FOUNDATION SPEND ALL THAT IT RAISES OR WILL IT SAVE MONEY FOR THE FUTURE?
Initially, the Foundation expects that it will expend most all of its funds to create positive educational impact on the District’s students. Eventually, the Foundation will attract major gifts from wills, trusts, real estate, life insurance, etc., and be able to create an endowment fund that will continuously provide resources to the schools without relying on current fundraising.
11. WILL TEACHERS HAVE A SAY IN HOW FUNDS ARE SPENT?
Yes. A group, composed of teachers, administrators, and foundation members assist the Foundation by reviewing grants and making recommendations to the Board of Trustees. In addition, most grant applications will come directly from teachers. MAEF's current grant program funds creative classroom and school projects of $200-$1,500. However, this does not limit teachers from suggesting major projects to the Foundation board for their consideration.
12. DOES MAEF REPLACE OTHER SCHOOL RELATED GROUPS, SUCH AS PTOs?
The Foundation is not intended to replace parent/teacher groups, booster clubs, etc., and in some cases collaborative projects can be developed with the Foundation. Other similar school foundations around the country have also become “fiduciary agents” for other school groups. In other words, they have the capacity to become a “bank” for non-incorporated, non-exempt groups.
13. CAN THE FOUNDATION GIVE FUNDS TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS?
A: No. Under its state charter and federal exemption, the Foundation may only give funds to the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District.
14. WHAT WILL IT COST TO ADMINISTER THE FOUNDATION?
Very little. Since the Foundation has no paid staff, more than 90% of all funds collected are expected to directly benefit the teachers and students of the District, and some will be used to seed fundraising and membership drives.
15. WHY DO WE NEED THE MATAWAN-ABERDEEN EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION?
Foundations in support of public education are a growing phenomenon throughout the country. In New Jersey and elsewhere, school budgets are being trimmed to the bone, often eliminating the types of innovative programming that encourage excellence and prepare students adequately for the workplace of today.
Private resources can play an important role in providing new and important opportunities for learning and teaching. In addition, in areas such as technology, the private sector is in the best position to provide funds and in-kind gifts to help keep students on the cutting edge.
16. CAN’T WE SIMPLY GIVE DIRECTLY TO THE SCHOOLS WITHOUT BOTHERING WITH A FOUNDATION?
Yes. However, the Foundation provides the most protected vehicle for making donations. Its exempt status allows the maximum amount of individual tax deduction. Many businesses and other organizations will not give to public schools, but are not restricted from giving to other foundations. In addition, the Foundation provides a “focus for support” by clearly stating the needs to be addressed and focusing on the businesses, individuals and foundations most likely to support such needs.
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