Google pitches in for school fundraiser | News | Mountain View Online |


Google pitches in for school fundraiser


The Mountain View Educational Foundation is looking to kick school fundraising into high gear this fall. Google announced last week that it would match up to $400,000 in donations made through December 11, offering a big boost in funding to the Mountain View Whisman School District.

The commitment by Google marks the foundation's first major matching grant in at least the last six years, according to Alison Barnsley, the education foundation's executive director. The extra money from Google not only helps fund local schools, but it also challenges residents to contribute more money through December.

"People recognize that they have to take advantage and support the (schools). It is a powerful tool," Barnsley said.

The education foundation, which contributes money to the district's libraries, music programs and field trips, raised $722,000 last year. Barnsley said there's a big disparity between what the foundation raises compared to the foundation supporting the nearby Los Altos School District -- which raised $3.3 million in the same year -- because of Mountain View's relatively high number of struggling middle class and economically disadvantaged families.

In an effort to bolster school funding and overcome that disparity, Barnsley said the Mountain View Education Foundation (MVEF) relies on philanthropic dollars, with Google often stepping up to the plate as a donor.

"Google tries, as a company, to be a good corporate citizen," she said.

Google typically contributes to local schools each year through technology and science-related grants, but took a different approach this year by offering up the extra cash as an incentive for people to contribute to the MVEF. In order to attract new donors, Google will contribute $2 for every $1 donated by new donors who haven't contributed previously.

"For decades, the Mountain View Educational Foundation has been a terrific partner to local schools and students," a Google spokesperson said. "We're happy to support their public education efforts in our hometown."

Prior to the matching grant, the foundation set a preliminary budget of $700,000 in funding for education programs this year. The money will go towards weekly art and music lessons with teachers from the Community School of Music and Arts, as well as supplies for hands-on science lessons. The funding will also pay for an eighth-grade field trip to Yosemite National Park for five days, which serves as a capstone program for environmental education.

The extra funding from Google means the foundation could easily exceed the $700,000 budgeted, and Barnsley said there's no shortage of ways to spend the money. There were plenty of concrete needs in the district this year that weren't included because of budget constraints, she said, including more instruments for the music program and software upgrades for managing the school libraries.

The MVEF leadership will convene in April to decide out how to spend any additional funds, and Barnsley said they are open to suggestions from parents and teachers. And while it's still too early to say how much the foundation will raise, Barnsley said they are ready for big plans next year.

"There is so much goodwill in this community. Everyone wants to see their schools succeed," she said.

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22 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 21, 2015 at 11:42 am

It's pretty clear to me that Mountain View Whisman school district is in bed with Google .

39 people like this
Posted by AA
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

@ Mom - Wow. That's a pretty destructive comment to an otherwise great event for our schools. I take it you're upset about the Whisman neighborhood school situation, but still.

I'm upset our family didn't get a spot at Stevenson after 2 years of trying, but there's NO WAY that will overshadow my excitement over this wonderful news! This is much needed funding that will help provide the "extras" that really should be just a part of any child's education.

Thank you Google for supporting your surrounding community. And thank you MVEF, whose parent volunteers spend many hours bringing in these types of donations to support our kids, but who often don't get the recognition and thanks they deserve.

This is my good news for the week!

16 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 21, 2015 at 1:16 pm


Words of a wannabe Pac!!! Your language is exactly what I think to be true. You line up with the company, take the funds, why because it valadates what you want. Not what's best for all concerned. Have you ever heard of good money and bad money.
The district is more interested in google money than the interest of our children.
Google knows they are NOT getting good press these day.
A good PR move for them.
So really who's distructive?
My children are long done with elementary school.
Pact can't always see the forest for the trees.

36 people like this
Posted by Great news
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

If you have a child in the district, then you know that MVEF pays for a lot of the things our kids love about going to school, like music and art. I'm thrilled that Google is matching funds. It prompted me to give more than I have in the past.

I don't know what "mom" above is talking about-- this has nothing to do with PACT. In fact, they have their own foundation. MVEF benefits *all* the students in the district, and makes the most difference to who wouldn't get things like music and art from other sources.

16 people like this
Posted by AA
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 21, 2015 at 1:49 pm

@ Mom,

I'm not a pact parent by the way, nor a Google employee. Just want to be clear on that.

I line up with no company, but I do line up with the many parent volunteers across all MVWSD schools who are working hard to fund activities and experiences that every child needs and deserves as part of a well-rounded education. Yes, I do think that's what's best for "all concerned". Google is only one tech company among many who have supported MVEF over the years and I'm very thankful they do. This is an especially nice donation, which is needed. They could easily do nothing for our schools, and then we would be complaining about that too.

Also, keep in mind in this instance Google is supporting MVEF, the foundation, not the district directly. Money raised through MVEF goes straight to our kids, in their classrooms in the form of art, music, hands on science, field trips, after school sports programs, all things I consider very important for every child to experience (even those not at pact).

20 people like this
Posted by Mighty Neighborly of You
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 21, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Don't feed those who just want to argue pact. They'll turn any story they can into an opportunity to feed their need.

This is a tremendously good thing. I hope the district can find many other companies to get "in bed with" hahaha. Hilariously epic fail on trying to make this a negative.

Leave it to the internet msg boards to have someone invent a (false) negative such a gift.
They do not have to do it, but their employees kids go to our schools as well, so it's natural where the motivation comes from.
Thanks to Google for this.

20 people like this
Posted by 3 for 1
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 21, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Thank you Google! I commend your generosity. I just retired from a highly profitable $50B company that matched $0.50 for every $1 employee donation.
I would love to turn my $1 donation into $3 for our MVEF students' benefit! We need all the help we can get to even the playing field for our Mountain View youth vs those in neighboring Los Altos.

9 people like this
Posted by Ok, so now
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Ok, so now the property taxes won't be increased? or maybe they will be decreased? Yeah right, wishful thinking.

No one gives money without wanting something in return. The question is where is Google looking for their return on their investment? Oh yeah, more housings. Like their housing planner always barks about on here.

11 people like this
Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Kudos to someone at MVEF for cutting this deal with Google (I'm sure someone on their board made that happen), and hats off to Google for supporting the community. I still wont give MVEF a penny or vote for the parcel tax until Steve Nelson steps down.

26 people like this
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 21, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Eric, Steve Nelson is a member of the School District's Board of Trustees. He does not serve on the board of the MVEF. You can find the list of MVEF directors here: Web Link

Good job MVEF and Google for making this happen! I'm off to the MVEF website to donate now.

25 people like this
Posted by Alison Barnsley
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm

For those who wish to help MVEF obtain the full match, you can donate at or learn more about the foundation at

17 people like this
Posted by @Ok, so now
a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm

The MVEF has zero input as to whether there's more housing in MV. They're a nonprofit that helps the school district, which also has zero input about housing. The city council is completely separate.

23 people like this
Posted by Odd people
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Some people just cannot stop talking about their pet peeve issues, even if it has nothing to do with the actual story.

19 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 21, 2015 at 9:53 pm

" I hope the district can find many other companies to get "in bed with""

There are quite a few companies matching their employees donations. Both my current employer and my previous employer did, and neither of them have a presence in Mountain View itself. They both have an interest in a well educated workforce though.

Hope the MVEF gets a nice chunk of donations to fund activities for the students in our district.

19 people like this
Posted by former MVWSD parent
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2015 at 10:57 am

The Mountain View Educational Foundation (MVEF) mentioned here has always been the one fundraising / fund dispensing private organization that studies student above-basic-needs items, prioritizes, them, and then DISTRIBUTES THEIR FUNDS PER STUDENT equally across the district. Which is why my family supported them with donations.

If you are in favor of community guided public educational support for arts, music, hands-on science , etc., etc., this is one of the best local charities to give to. Your contribution will be tax deductible. They are well run and have keep their IRS papers up-to-date.

20 people like this
Posted by Harder to hate these days
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 22, 2015 at 11:02 am

Google did something good. People who cannot accept that this happens, this is a difficult story because it forces them to see that Google is not always the evil entity that they have been dreamed up about in some people's minds.
It forces them to admit that they may have been wrong about things.

5 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 22, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Sour grapes after 2 years you didn't get Stevenson.

5 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 22, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Sour grapes after 2 years you didn't get Stevenson.

7 people like this
Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2015 at 11:14 pm

@Martin Omander I am well aware. I see no point in providing funds in any form to a district so poorly run. MVEF makes a direct grant to a district in decline, thanks to a dysfunctional board of trustees.

7 people like this
Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 6:30 pm

I find it hard to fathom how some folks have turned a very generous offer from Google into something sinister. Unreal! Everyone should be thanking them for their generosity.

Furthermore, I don't think the Board is dysfunctional; I think it has at least one, possibly two, disruptive member(s) who is/are always attempting to sabotage rational discussion and decision making.

7 people like this
Posted by Sunnyvale resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2015 at 7:11 am

Dear Google,

If the lunatic fringe in MV ever grows so large that it makes it hard to do business in town, COME TO SUNNYVALE! Even our lunatics know a good thing when we see it.

5 people like this
Posted by @ eric
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm

I do understand your feelings. I, too, wish that Steve Nelson would step down. And, as soon as we get that wish, we then might need to have the same thoughts about Greg C.

Please note: You are correct that MVEF gives a grant to MVWSD. However, what you may not be aware of is that MVWSD is legally required to use those funds only for the things that MVEF says. It is a specific program grant. Therefore, the School Board has absolutely no say in where those monies go. There are contracts already written for most items that MVEF funds.

In addition, the MVEF Board decides what they programs they will fund. It is a private charitable organization.

As I said, I certainly understand your feelings. Before I knew much about MVEF, I, too, used to lump them in with the District. When the District made a decision I did not like, I did not donate to MVEF. I now know the separation, and realize that the lack of donations to MVEF hurts the students - as much as Steve Nelson is hurting the District.

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