Del Mar Schools Education Foundation raises more than $1.3 million


By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Schools Education Foundation (DMSEF) raised the most money it ever has in this year’s campaign. With an influx of funds coming in the last few weeks of the campaign, the Foundation was able to raise $1.32 million.

“I’m absolutely floored, it’s amazing,” said Drew Isaacman, interim president of DMSEF. “To be able to exceed last year’s total and have the highest amount we’ve ever received, it’s a great feat.”

This money will go toward funding 14 full-time equivalent (FTE) Extended Studies Curriculum (ESC) teachers in the subjects of science, technology, music, art and PE. The 14 teachers represent one more teacher than the Foundation funded last year and also makes up for the one less ESC teacher the Del Mar Union School District will be able to fund due to its budget cuts.

Isaacman said he considers that 14 FTE teachers funding a big success as no one wanted to see the ESC program negatively impacted as the district was forced to make those tough budget decisions.

Fundraising efforts this year received a big boost from strategies such as tapping into corporate partnerships and the first annual Carmel Valley 5K Run/Walk in December. The 5K was able to bring in $42,000 worth of contributions and a partnership with the new Whole Foods store, which donated 1 percent of its opening profits, netting $5,000.

“Those two things in essence were the delta that allowed us to exceed last year’s contributions,” said Isaacman.

Isaacman said the Foundation would look for the 5K to grow even more this year as well as the corporate fundraising side.

“With the influx of restaurants and businesses in our area, more restaurants are inquiring about standardized giving and partnerships and that’s exciting,” Issacman said. “Whole Foods really opened our eyes to that.”

Isaacman also noted that the Foundation was able to maintain its lowest ever expense ratio this year at 7 percent.

The Foundation will undergo a transition in July when the 2013-14 board is formed and new officers are elected. Isaacman, who took over this year as an interim president after Amy Caterina stepped down, said he is interested in staying involved but does not know if he will again be president.

In April, Del Mar Hills and Del Mar Heights parents suggested a change in the DMSEF district-wide fundraising model. Parents proposed a hybrid model where once a school has raised enough to cover its share of ESC funding, donations above that level would go back to the donating home school only.

Isaacman said the new board would consider the parents’ proposal for a hybrid model, while noting that the Foundation raised more money than ever using the current districtwide model, noting that the “schools really pulled together.”