Our mission is to inspire and empower an extraordinary public education for every child. The Berkeley Public Schools Fund invests directly in teachers’ ideas and creativity with classroom and districtwide program grants and volunteer support in the classroom.
Every year the Schools Fund awards approximately 300 classroom and districtwide grants, serving 10,000 students, 19 schools, and 550 teachers. Coupled with our volunteer program, the Schools Fund annually contributes $1.5 million in grants and in-kind donations.
Watch a video of Board member Mary Friedman discuss the founding of the Schools Fund here. The Berkeley Public Schools Fund (then Berkeley Public Education Foundation) was established in 1983, as Proposition 13 tax restructuring began impacting public schools. A group of Berkeley parents and community leaders, frustrated by the diminishing resources for public school classrooms, created the Berkeley Public Education Foundation. Today, Berkeley public school teachers and students continue to benefit from this group’s vision and their founding of an annual source of funding for educators to enrich their classrooms and expand their student’s horizons.
Begun in a volunteer’s living room filled with notebooks and file boxes, the Schools Fund has grown to become Berkeley’s single largest source of outside funding to reach teachers and programs in every Berkeley public school, from Pre-K through 12th grade.
The Schools Fund began with funding Classroom Grants in 1984, and less than ten years later created Berkeley Schools Volunteers. In 2014, we created Friends & Family Grants with the generous support of Blueprint, the student software development club at UC Berkeley.
In 2013, on its 30th anniversary, BPEF changed its name to the Berkeley Public Schools Fund to better represent the intent of our organization. With the name change, we are also trying to increase support in the community for public schools.
The Schools Fund will always aim to go beyond what public resources can provide in even the best of times. It’s a community effort, which is why we say, “great public schools are made by you!”