MVEF officials hope that the "5 Years to $500K" endowment campaign, launched in December, will bring the organization's endowment up from its current balance of about $235,000 to half a million dollars by 2018.
"I am optimistic; I think that it is doable," said Alison Barnsley, executive director for MVEF. "I think there are a lot of people in MV that care about our schools and I think that they will be able to come up with the money."
Established in 1983, the foundation ran for many years without an endowment, according to Barnsley. In 1999, an endowment was established, with the provision that its balance would have to reach $500,000 before any of the returns could be disbursed. Since that time, the endowment has grown, but has yet to reach the necessary mark. As a result, MVEF has had to support Mountain View Whisman schools with what is collected during the foundation's "annual appeal."
The campaign's initial push has already brought in $25,000 — $5,000 of which came from an anonymous donor, Barnsley said.
The foundation is appealing to the local community to contribute to the campaign and help it reach its goal within the next five years.
Having a strong endowment is important for such a small organization, Barnsley said, and it is especially important when the economy is as tight as it is now. MVEF cannot weather economic downturns as effectively as national foundations, or even larger local foundations, like the Mountain View-Los Altos High School Foundation.
Because a strong local school district makes for a strong community, Barnsley hopes the community gets behind the foundation's fundraising effort.
"I believe that a strong public education is fundamentally a great thing about this country," she said. "For me it's one of the fundamental underpinnings for why our country is as strong as it is. If we have good, strong public schools, we'll have a good, strong society."
For more information on how to donate, go to www.mvef.org and click the "donate" link.