What is the Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning (SFIL)?
The Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning is an organization comprised of area community business and civic leaders, parents, and educators who recognize the need for innovative programs that effectively enhance student achievement and foster lifelong learning for the students in the Saratoga Springs City School District to help them compete in a global community of students.
Are there other similar types of foundations?
Yes, many education foundations have been established over the past several decades. According to one study by the University of Northern Iowa, there were nearly 5,000 established more than a decade ago. Certainly, that number has grown. Several local school districts have education foundations, as well.
What will the Foundation do?
The Foundation raises and distributes funds for programs and/or projects that extend the central mission of the SSCSD. The Foundation will NOT fund or supplement any program that is the district’s responsibility. Rather, the Foundation will challenge administrators, teachers, and students to create new and innovative initiatives that will enhance the curriculum already in existence, extending the educational experience.
How will the Foundation be funded?
The Foundation will be funded from a variety of fundraising efforts led by the Board of Directors and and the Fundraising Committee. All donations will provide impactful experiences for both staff and students of SSCSD.
Why an education foundation in Saratoga Springs? Aren’t our schools doing well enough?
Over seven of the past eight years, SSCSD has been in the top 10 of 85 area school districts in annual surveys conducted by The Business Review in Albany, which ranks districts based on state test scores as well as graduation rates. Among city school districts in the survey, Saratoga Springs has consistently placed first. Clearly, SSCSD has a reputation for exceeding expectations. To compete nationally and internationally, our schools must be able to provide an innovative learning experience beyond the core program that looks to the future of our rapidly changing world. This Foundation will support those aims.
What are some examples of the types of programs the Foundation will fund?
Examples of programs that would meet the mission of the Foundation include: 21st century teaching and learning initiatives; destination learning, Parent University; arts in education, robotics, and numerous others, including special programs or assemblies that support innovative initiatives.
Why should I give to this foundation?
You should give to this foundation because 100% of your donation goes directly towards public education in SSCSD. You are investing in the future of the children in this district, allowing for opportunities to put SSCSD and Saratoga on the map as a leader in innovative learning.
Will the Foundation affect the school budget or my taxes?
No, your taxes will not be affected. All funds raised and distributed by the Foundation will be donations received by the public at large.
How does the Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning operate?
The Foundation is comprised of a Board of Directors which will oversee various committees. Directors will help organize events and review grant proposals. All members of the Foundation are unpaid volunteers.
What is the relationship between the Foundation and the Saratoga Springs Board of Education (BOE)?
The Foundation is a non-political entity independentof the BOE. The Foundation is not an alternative source of funding for the school system. Programs to be funded by the Foundation must align with the SSCSD curriculum and educational goals, and be markedly innovative in nature.
Are donations to the Foundation eligible to be classified as tax-exempt donations?
Yes, the Foundation is a duly recognized Section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and the donations are tax deductible as permitted by law. All of the funds received by the Foundation will be donated (after applicable fund-raising expenses are paid) for the benefit of the students in the School District, in the form of grants.
What size donation is appropriate?
Donations of any amount are accepted and greatly appreciated.
May donations be designated for specific purposes?
No. All donations are put into a general account for future grant allocations. Donations made in a fiscal year will generally be used for grant awards in the following year.
How do staff or schools apply for a grant?
Administrators, teachers, or any certified staff of the school district may submit a grant application. If a community member would like to submit a grant application, it must be sponsored by one of the above. Grant proposals are submitted to the Grants Committee of the Foundation using the application form – the form will be available on the website. Once the grant application has been reviewed by the Grant Committee and deemed eligible, it will be passed on to the Board of Directors.
Will the Foundation pay for teacher salaries or facilities expenses?
No. Grants awarded by the Foundation will not pay for any normal operating expenditure(s) in the budget.
May grants be given to support athletic programs?
No. Grants awarded by the Foundation will not be used to pay for SSCSD athletic programs. However, grants could fund innovation in the physical education curriculum.
How can I volunteer?
The Foundation welcomes volunteers to help with a multitude of activities and events. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.