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 9,000 students, 19 schools, and 550 teachers and totaling $500,000. This, coupled with our volunteer program, means every year we’re contributing $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.
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!”