Commonly Asked Questions
When and how was the Portland Public Schools Foundation (PPSF) established?
The PPSF was formed in 1994, as a result of the PPS Board of Education adopting Board Policy 7.10.030-P, “District Foundation.” This policy gave way for the establishment of the Portland Public Schools Foundation, an entity focused on raising philanthropic dollars on behalf of the District, supporting and establishing the Local School Foundation (LSF) model, supporting and elevating the campaigns for new bond and levy revenues, running fundraising campaigns and providing grants management in support of PPS. On May 12 of that year, the Board of Education also adopted a set of principles to guide the operation of foundation activities. These principles were updated two times (in 1998 and 2007). These Guiding Principles continue to serve as the basis for how LSFs are managed. For more information, please click here.
When did the Portland Public Schools Foundation (PPSF) name change to All Hands Raised?
When PPSF rebranded itself to All Hands Raised (AHR) in 2010, the PPSF program became a division (and not the sole focus) of AHR. This was done in collaboration with community partners who asked and elected AHR to lead a Multnomah County local cradle to career initiative, resulting in an associated rebranding process (at the direction of six partner superintendents, including PPS) to reflect the countywide collective impact work AHR was increasingly doing to address racial inequities. At that time, AHR also re-committed, at the request of the PPS administration, to continue operating the PPSF as a division of AHR. As such, AHR currently provides fiscal oversight and program management services for the PPSF, including support to LSFs and the stewardship of the PPS Parent Fund. In collaboration with the PPS Superintendent and his senior staff, AHR is transitioning the oversight of the PPSF Program to PPS effective July 1, 2019.
Why is this hand-off happening now?
Portland Public Schools (PPS) is involved in an exciting period of change. In the fall of 2017, Guadalupe Guerrero began his tenure as the District’s new Superintendent, with a focus on orienting Portland’s school system toward a 21st century system that provides all students with an equitable, inspired, intellectually rigorous educational experience to prepare them to succeed and thrive. In the fall of 2018, Superintendent Guerrero and the Board of Education launched an ambitious process to develop a community informed vision for the future of public education in Portland. Once finalized in June 2019, this vision will provide a framework to continue the strategic transformation of our school system over the next decade.
Our vision--the District’s community promise--will continue to require a well-coordinated effort involving multiple stakeholders throughout the region. It will encourage business, philanthropic, and civic leaders to become inspired and take action to support, contribute, and hold themselves accountable for better outcomes for all public school students in PPS. To build on this coordinated effort, Superintendent Guerrero established the Strategic Partnerships department with a focus on building and accelerating the identification, cultivation, and strengthening of strategic relationships with those who will serve as investment partners in a citywide movement to create a world-class public school system.
Under the guidance of the Strategic Partnerships team, PPS is moving forward with establishing a new nonprofit fundraising vehicle, The Fund for Portland Public Schools (The Fund for PPS).
The Fund for Portland Public Schools
What is The Fund for Portland Public Schools?
The Fund for PPS will serve as PPS’s backbone organization solely focused on strengthening and expanding private and philanthropic investments on behalf of the District, which will be closely aligned to the organization’s vision, strategic plan and critical areas. The Fund for PPS will have an independent Board of Directors, serving as advocates and advisors to the Superintendent and the Board of Education on items related to business and philanthropic investments. Activities led by the 501(c)(3) entity will be executed by the existing Strategic Partnerships team. An additional staff member will be added, serving as a coordinator of the LSF efforts, including providing support in accounting, database and records management. Funding will come from private investments. To formalize the relationship between PPS and The Fund for PPS, a Memorandum of Understanding will be developed and describe the responsibilities and expectations of the partnership to advance the interests of PPS. The District’s new nonprofit fundraising vehicle will serve as the primary, but not exclusive, pathway for investing in PPS. By establishing this new vehicle, we will:
facilitate direct alignment to maximize impact and scale;
build robust accountability structures and transparent financial records;
utilize existing internal operations to minimize operational and implementation costs;
leverage the assets of the various influential philanthropic and community leaders of the nonprofit’s board of directors.
The Fund for PPS is modeled after many institutions of higher education, both in approach and structure. For example, The University of Oregon Foundation is the 501(c)(3) auxiliary organization of the University of Oregon that coordinates financial investments to assist the university in meeting its educational mission. The University Advancement Team at the University of Oregon leads these efforts to create awareness, build long-term relationships, and facilitate charitable giving.
Is All Hands Raised Going Away?
No. All Hands Raised serves a broader role in the community as the entity charged by leaders with implementing a local collective impact initiative with an explicit focus on racial equity, improving education outcomes for Multnomah County’s 220,000 children, youth and young adults. This is the primary focus of All Hands Raised. They will continue this focus on improving educational outcomes with PPS, as well as with other districts and entities from throughout the county. For more information visit: allhandsraised.org.
PPS Local School Foundations & PPS Parent Fund
Which PPS schools currently have active LSFs (independent and affiliated)?
There are currently 42 school communities with active LSFs. This includes 8 independent school foundations--nonprofit organizations with independent jurisdiction and oversight by an independent board of directors. For more information, please click here.
When and how will services to PPS Local School Foundations change?
The entity delivering these services will change. All Hands Raised has begun the transition of providing the tools we need to continue to effectively manage and steward LSFs funds on behalf of PPS parents and the PPS Parent Fund. In addition, accounting services including the issuance of monthly reports to LSFs, cash collection, loaned credit swipers, bulk mailing options, insurance coverage along with other accounting services provided to affiliated PPS LSFs will remain intact. The administrative management of the LSFs will be transferred to The Fund for PPS effective July 1, 2019. PPS, The Fund for PPS and AHR will continue to collaborate after that date to ensure a seamless transition for PPS LSFs.
Will there still be donation forms available to download, credit card swipers available, bulk mail printing options, insurance, and general bookkeeping under the new entity?
Yes. Donation forms will be available on FundforPPS.org. Swipers, bulk printing options, insurance and general bookkeeping will be provided by The Fund for PPS.
Will the funds raised by LSFs continue to be used to support their individual school communities?
Yes. The intent of the funds raised for staffing positions by parents through LSFs will be honored. As a guiding principle, The Fund for PPS and Portland Public Schools value the importance of donor intent and will continue to be the stewards of these funds raised by school in that manner.
Will there be a difference between the LSF model within AHR and The Fund for PPS?
The Fund for PPS will provide the same administrative management that AHR has been providing, effective July 1, 2019:
PPS parents volunteer their time to raise funds to support staffing through their LSFs. These funds will be forwarded from the LSFs to The Fund for PPS.
Donations received by The Fund for PPS (whether by mail, in person or from The Fund for PPS’s online donation page) will be deposited directly into that LSF’s account. The Fund for PPS will provide fiscal management of these funds, including monthly financial reports to all active LSFs.
The Fund for PSS will calculate each foundation investment in the PPS Parent Fund (1/3 of all funds raised after the first $10,000 raised). Using a data-informed formula that takes into account school demographics and financial information, The Fund for PPS will award PPS Parent Fund grants, which will be administered by PPS. For more information, please click here.
At the end of each fiscal year, one-hundred percent of the remaining balance, after the PPS Parent Fund grants will be deducted, and transferred directly to the school’s account at PPS to fund positions approved by the principal and their supervisor.
What is the PPS Parent Fund and what is the process for how these funds are distributed to schools? What will be different in how the The Fund for PPS manages these funds in the future?Known as the PPS Parent Fund, this fund serves as a set aside of the one-third raised (after the first $10,000) by LSFs. These funds are stewarded and distributed to high-need schools using a data-driven formula. This formula includes school demographics (% of students in poverty, % students of color and % emerging bilingual students) and school finances (including Title I, PTA, LSF and previous parent fund dollars) which total to determine ranking. AHR, using this data-driven formula, determined the PPS Parent Fund distributions for the 2019-20 school year. For more information, please click here.
Will PPS and The Fund for PPS consider updating the policies, procedures, formulas, etc.?
For over 25 years, Portland’s parent, philanthropic and business communities have stepped up in huge ways to support their local school communities through fundraising. During these 25 years, there have been few substantive changes made to policies, guiding principles and administrative procedures (1994, 1998, 2007) for the LSF fundraising efforts. To ensure a smooth transition of the administrative management of the LSFs, we have agreed, in turn-key style, to transfer as is. In the Fall of 2019, we will work with parents and community members to examine the LSF program and determine areas for continuous improvement. This will culminate in a set of recommendations from The Fund for PPS’ board of directors to the PPS Board of Education. It will be a joint effort to determine appropriate shifts, if any, to both PPS Board of Education’s policies and The Fund for PPS’ operations.
Questions from Community Forum Attendees
Process and Logistical Questions
How will The Fund for PPS Board of Directors be selected? Election? Appointment? Appointed, by whom?
Initial Board Members of The Fund for PPS will be invited by PPS--the establishers of The Fund--to join the Board. These initial Board Members will serve as the interim Board Leadership (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) and will be responsible for launching a citywide search for a full and diverse Board of Directors. This way, the organization’s Board of Directors--similar to any nonprofit organization--have the authority and responsibility of selecting its own Board of Directors. These individuals will share in the mission of The Fund, that is, to strengthen and expand private and philanthropic dollars on behalf of the District. They will also have strong professional experience in areas, such as accounting and finance, nonprofit law, philanthropic investments, community engagement and/or K-12 Education. The key to having a successful Board of Directors is to have a true diversity and representation--based on race, gender, professional background, etc--and be strategic thinkers committed to investing their time to see PPS and The Fund for PPS thrive. As the governance leaders of The Fund, these Board Members will serve as the community’s philanthropic ambassadors and as financial stewards, leading the organization with transparency, integrity and commitment to our city’s children. They will serve as advisors to the Board of Education and the Superintendent on matters related to philanthropic investments.
Will monthly donations to LSFs transition from All Hands Raised to The Fund for PPS? Will the company/corporate matching gifts continue? How will employers know to send their matching funds to The Fund for PPS?
We are researching policies and procedures of recurring gifts that flow through All Hands Raised and developing a plan for this. We will provide clear instructions to both the donors and their employers to ensure donations and matching gifts are received with respect to donor intent. This is the subject of conversations currently with All Hands Raised.
AHR was able to share data about funds raised by individual school foundations for current and past years. Will PPS be transparent with this data in a timely manner? Will past year’s data from AHR be retained and still available to the public?
Yes, The Fund for PPS will be transparent in sharing information with the public. All Hands Raised is transferring historic data/files to The Fund for PPS for record keeping and transparency.
For independent LSFs: How if at all, will the relationship we’ve historically had with AHR change after the transition to The Fund for PPS?
We anticipate the relationship between the Independent School Foundations and The Fund for PPS will be very similar to the relationship between the Independent School Foundations and All Hands Raised.
Will The Fund for PPS will be staffed exclusively by PPS Staff? Will the non-profit have any staff?The Fund for PPS will be staffed by PPS staff for at least the first year, July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020. An operational agreement between PPS and The Fund for PPS will outline details related to scope of work, responsibilities, reimbursements, etc. This Operational Agreement will be voted on by the PPS Board of Education and The Fund’s Board of Directors.
When will the new Tax ID # be available?
We expect to have the new Tax ID # before July 1, 2019.
Down the road, can you identify locations other than administrative office to drop money?
Similar to current processes where LSFs “deposit” their donations at AHR’s offices, your donations will be dropped off at PPS’s central office location at 501 N Dixon Street. As part of our transition effort, we will explore alternatives and seek other possibilities.
Do you consider donations into formula from local businesses? - I believe that not all schools are showing all income/benefits.
All cash donations, regardless of the source, to affiliated or independent Local School Foundations (LSF) for the purposes of additive staffing are subjected to the Board mandated PPS Parent Fund split of the 1/3 contribution to the PPS Parent Fund and 2/3 to the LSF.
Can you build out the technology available to us as LSF to fundraise. Peer to Peer giving pages, online giving pages, etc.? How can we connect to a similar school to share best practices?
The Fund for PPS will examine ways to support Local School Foundations and we are open to discussion. We will develop a plan for schools to share best practices with each other. We will seek input to determine the best structure for sharing (i.e. online forum, WebEx meetings, in person meetings, etc.).
Can PPS keep a public database of all funding coming to schools that includes district, federal, PTA, LSF etc with actual costs not budgeted?
Under the leadership of our Deputy Superintendent for Business and Operations Claire Hertz and Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Le, the accounting and budget departments have been working to bring more clarity, transparency and accountability to our budgeting and accounting practices. For instance, we encourage our community to review the 2019-20 Proposed Budget which includes a budget per school with actual from previous three years. It captures staffing numbers from the general fund, school-based foundations and other revenues and how much money is assigned to each school community.
As we bring The Fund for PPS online, we will continue to work with the Budget and Accounting team to strengthen our transparency efforts to ensure that we are open about all the dollars being used to support students.
Philosophical & Contextual Questions
What steps will PPS take to build parent trust?
The Office of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement is focused on (re)building parent, student and community trust. As we know, trust is not developed over-night and it takes intentional effort. It also requires strong relationships between us and you. As we strengthen our internal capacity to engage community authentically, we know that we will build trust by:
Having effective communication.
Sharing information widely.
Engaging the community in meaningful ways.
These systems and structures have not been in place for a while and it is our commitment to rebuild those in a meaningful way. It will take time. It will take patience. But most importantly, it will take a deep commitment to be in relationship with our broader community and a collective voice that PPS is our shared responsibility and the success of PPS is merely a reflection of the successes of our children and our city.
All Hands Raised has spent the better part of a decade building a brand and has significant credibility as a local fundraiser. PPS on the other hand, has not established its own credibility over the past decade. How will the Fund for PPS address this public perception deficit as it launches?
Over the last 18 months, PPS has been on a journey to (re)build relationship, trust and support of public education in our city. This is particularly true of our relationships with the business and philanthropic community. We are listening with authenticity, extending a hand and welcoming a collective effort to transform our education system so that every child can thrive. So far, we have strengthened our capacity to cultivate and have opened doors with high-net worth and high-impact donors interested in specific areas (i.e. arts, STEM, socio-emotional, TAG, etc.). As a clear example, the Meyer Memorial Trust, one of the region’s largest foundations, has once again, invested in Portland Public Schools. It had been a decade since they had last invested directly in PPS. To be more specific, the Superintendent and members of his senior leadership have been in communication and in relationship with over 160 corporate, foundation, civic and community leaders since November 2017, cultivating and strengthening relationship with the region’s “most giving” corporate philanthropist (18+ / top 24) and the “most charitable” foundations (12+ / top 15) in the Metro Area (PDX Business Journal, 2017).
All Hands Raised was in a relationship with STRIVE. Will the new Foundation continue that relationship? Do social impact bonds or Pay for Success investments figure into the new Foundation plans?
All Hands Raised is a member of the StriveTogether National Cradle to Career Network--the backbone organization for the nonprofit network of nearly 70 community partnerships working to improve educational outcomes through a collective impact approach. All Hands Raised is the backbone organization for Multnomah County’s cradle to career movement, representing seven partner school districts, including PPS, in this national network.
The Fund’s sole focus will be to raise the philanthropic dollars on behalf of the District. StriveTogether and AHR’s focus are distinct and are not related to the focus of The Fund. Furthermore, there are no plans to pursue “Social Impact Bonds,” or “Pay for Success” Investments.
Student centered is the new direction and vision, how do we ensure funds go and actually get results for not just financial need but related to all students graduating by 2025?
Our PPS community has been involved in a intentional process to define the District’s vision--articulating the aspiration for every student in our system. As we begin the work of implementing the District’s vision, we will require cross-sector coordination with business and philanthropy. The Fund for PPS will align its core strategic fundraising plan to the district’s vision and strategic plan and will utilize these philanthropic resources to innovate and accelerate student performance so that every student in our system success.
How will you create a barrier between LSF donor relationships and PPS Fund interest in the same donors?
As we know, the majority of local school foundation fundraising efforts are built on existing and/or newly forged relationships between parents, grandparents and neighbors. Their generous donations will continue to be used to impact those individual school communities. The Fund’s effort on the other hand will be to cultivate relationships with local businesses, philanthropist and foundations committed to systemwide transformation and will be considered major donors--investments over $100,000. We don’t expect much overlap between donors and if and when those moments arise, we will be transparent with the LSF leadership and communicate and strategize a win-win opportunity for all parties involved.
Why is PPS providing/paying for training for parents in a system deemed inequitable?
As The Fund comes online and we transition the responsibilities of the local school foundations to this new entity, we would want to provide, just like All Hands Raised has done over the years, trainings that equip the parent leaders raising money with the tools to process donations, engage donors and identify new strategies for fundraising. This includes the school communities with limited capacity to raise dollars from the parent community but still could identify local businesses and neighbors to support the school and its children. There have been a few instances in the past where fundraising efforts in local school communities caused tension or where public property like “premier lockers” are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Through increased training and guidance we will provide tools and support to run effective, efficient and ethical fundraising efforts.
How can PPS continue to support a system that encourages individual schools to provide their own funding when such huge disparities exist between fundraising capabilities? Some schools raise ten times the amount of the largest PPS Parent Fund grant.
PPS schools receive differentiated funding from the district based on needs for improvement and support, which means that some schools receive a higher allotment of FTE from the district. The 2019-20 Proposed Budget shows this in the section that outlines FTE and funding per school. See page 180-187 for an explanation of the School-Wide Support that serves as a baseline for staffing, and the explanation of the additional allocations for schools with the highest needs. The Local School Foundations raised $4.5 million in 2018 (of which $1.215 million was redistributed to schools with higher needs).
For the bigger pot of money the PPS Fund will now fundraise - Will it be used for cross district initiatives (eg. art/stem across all schools) or will it all be allocated based on today’s model to individual schools?
PPS will seek larger investments in strategic initiatives, some of which may be district-wide, some may be in targeted programs, and some may be school-based. The model of Local School Foundation funds will continue as it is now, with ⅔ of the funds staying with the school and ⅓ going to the PPS Parent Fund.
What changes are you considering or have been discussed? Might the Fund for PPS consider a new model for the Parent Fund, perhaps a tiered system for contributions from schools requiring some schools to give a greater percentage? When will the decision be made on the formula and/or funds?
The Fund for PPS will seek community input of these policies in the Fall 2019. By December 31, 2019, any recommended changes to the current policies and guidelines for Local School Foundations will need to be ratified by the board of directors of The Fund for PPS and the Board of Education.
I have heard concerns that LSF funds influence staffing. How can The Fund help alleviate those concerns?
Staffing decisions reside with PPS administrators and should not be determined by foundations, although they can make it known what their preferences are. It is important to have a shared understanding of how funds will be spent before the funds are raised. The Fund for PPS will develop guidance to ensure that staffing decisions are being made by PPS administrators.
How can we deal with inequities in booster & PTA fundraising? For example, Woodlawn PTA raises approximately $4,000/year and Duniway PTA raises over $200,000/year. This affects teacher supplies, technology purchasing, field trips, student PBIS incentives, teacher appreciation and more.
While PTAs are separate entities that are not governed by PPS, we encourage and welcome partnership with the regional and statewide PTA to explore best practices to increase equitable practices, especially around fundraising efforts. We will be reaching out to the PTA to further this conversation.