Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the Hillsborough Schools Foundation?
The Hillsborough Schools Foundation (HSF) is a non-profit organization committed to raising funds to support quality education at the four public schools in the Hillsborough City School District (HCSD). HSF is supported by parents, community members, and businesses. Since 1980, HSF has allocated over $66 million dollars to the school district to help close the gap between shrinking government funding and the high quality education that we in Hillsborough have come to expect for our children.
Who runs HSF?
HSF is governed and led by a 17 to 20 member Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is comprised of current parents in the HCSD and consists of the following: President, President-Elect, Annual Giving, Events, Communications, Nominating, Corporate Outreach, Strategic Planning, Audit and Endowment, Treasurer, Secretary, Past HSF President and APG President. In addition, a member of the Board of Trustees, the Superintendent and the HSF Executive Director are non-voting members. The Board of Directors terms are for one year, commencing on July 1 and concluding on June 30.
What does HSF support?
For the 2021-2022 school year, HSF contributed $3.4 million to the Hillsborough City School District. These funds are essential to augment state funding and deliver the educational excellence we expect. Without your support to HSF, our children would NOT have:
- Support of programs throughout the school curriculum, grades K-8
- Class Size Reduction, grades K-8
- Reading Specialists
- Math & Science Enrichment Teachers
- Technology Specialists and up-to-date technology
- Music Specialists
- Physical Education Specialists
- Art Specialist
- Counseling Services, grades K-8
- Professional Development
- SMART technology in every classroom
- HTV Program
HOW DOES THE DISTRICT SPEND THE ANNUAL CONTRIBUTION FROM HSF?
The HCSD School Board decides how the funds are spent on an annual basis. HSF does a straight contribution to the School Board as an unrestricted grant.
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT HSF REVENUES AND SPENDING?
It is our goal to be transparent, about where the money comes from and goes. Each year, we publish an annual report that details the sources of funding for HSF as well as our expenses (about 10% of our revenues) and grants to the school district. The report also summarizes the school district’s uses of the HSF grant. The district makes the full details of their budget available on the school district website.
What is the difference between HSF and MY SCHOOL’S PARENT GROUP
Both organizations provide important yet distinct support for our schools. The Hillsborough Schools Foundation (HSF) is the non-profit fundraising organization that raises money for the Hillsborough City School District through the Annual Giving Campaign and HSF Events. Each year, the financial support from HSF supplements state funding and enables the district to provide additional programs and teachers. Parent and community donors, as well as volunteers, contribute to provide a high level of education in Hillsborough.
Each school’s parent group coordinates volunteers at the local school and facilitates communication and community-building within the school. The dues to the parent group pay for a variety of community-building events, staff appreciation, classroom support and supplies, directories, and yearbooks.
The school parent groups are all under the umbrella of the the Associated Parents’ Groups (APG) of Hillsborough. APG provides the governance, legal, and accounting infrastructure to each school parent group. It also coordinates district-wide community-building through projects like the 4-school directory, speaker series, and the Citizen of the Year and Community Care Awards.
I am new to the District AND I WANT TO DO MY PART FOR HSF. HOW CAN I HELP?
Please join the ranks of supporters of HSF whose contributions have made and continue to make a significant impact on our public schools. You can help by making a donation to the Annual Giving Campaign. If you would like your gift to provide immediate impact, contribute to our Annual Fund. You can also make a lifetime gift to the Endowment Fund and help us provide ongoing support to the schools for years to come. You can also help by attending and volunteering for our HSF Events. There are three fantastic events held throughout the year. These events raise additional funds and build community spirit.
WHY DOES A PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT NEED MY PRIVATE DONATION?
The Hillsborough City School District’s goal is to provide an excellent education, equivalent to top private and public schools in the area. Providing that quality of education would not be possible with tax dollars alone, so Hillsborough parents created HSF just over 40 years ago to bridge the funding gap.
Public school finance in the State of California has changed dramatically over the last quarter century. Since California’s public schools receive the majority of their funding on a per student basis from the state government, the State deficit has resulted in dramatically reduced allocations to education. California ranks 41st in the nation on education spending per student. As a result, school districts throughout our State have been forced to make major cuts to local budgets. Unprecedented community support has made it possible for our district to preserve outstanding academic programs and student support services long lost in other communities.
As citizens of Hillsborough, we are committed to educating our students to become active citizens and leaders of tomorrow. This takes the efforts of both our citizens and our schools, working together to provide our children a first rate educational experience. For over 40 years, HSF has worked with generations of Hillsborough families to do just this, providing millions of dollars in support of educational excellence.
WHY SHOULD I DONATE TO HSF INSTEAD OF OTHER CHARITIES?
We hope you will consider HSF in addition to your other giving priorities. HSF represents an investment in your children and improving your local community. The vast majority of Hillsborough parents in the district feel that improving the schools for their own children and others is a big part of why they selected Hillsborough as their home, so including HSF in their giving is an extension of that philosophy.
WHY DID ACE (THE ADDITIONAL COST TO EDUCATE) INCREASE?
The cost to educate our children continues to increase each year due to a number of factors (inflation, cost of living in the Bay Area for the teachers and staff, etc.). HSF sets the ACE level for each child to cover the gap between revenues from the state and local sources (including property taxes) and what the school district actually spends to provide a high quality education for our students. The primary use for your donation is to continue to recruit and retain excellent teachers and staff.
WHEN WILL I RECEIVE A DONOR ACKNOWLEDGMENT LETTER FOR IRS TAX PURPOSES?
HSF will send you a donor acknowledgement letter within 30 days of receiving the actual payment of your donation (not the pledge). If you have made your donation and haven’t received your letter within a month, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT IF I CAN’T DONATE AT THE ACE (i.e., ADDITIONAL COST TO EDUCATE) LEVEL
Our Annual Giving Campaign goal is to have 100% family participation, and every dollar makes a difference. We appreciate your generosity with any amount you can give.
CAN I DONATE STOCKS OR BONDS?
Yes, HSF will gladly accept the donation of stock or bonds. Please refer to the Annual Giving page for instructions.
WHOM SHOULD I CONTACT WITH FEEDBACK OR CONCERNS ABOUT THE SCHOOL OR MY CHILD’S EXPERIENCE?
If you have feedback with any aspect of your child’s education, please communicate your concerns to your teacher, principal and/or superintendent. They are all very eager to make sure your child is getting the best education possible, and is enjoying their school experience. All of our teachers and administrators will work closely with you to solve your issues.
Withholding a donation to HSF will not do anything to change your child’s experience, except increase the risk that class sizes will go up, specialists will be laid off, and teachers will not receive professional development. Additionally, withholding a donation doesn’t just negatively affect your child, but the other students as well.
Why does it cost so much...
to run and maintain a school? Can’t great education take place in a barn?
We live in one of the highest cost-of-living areas in the country, so funding our buildings, teachers, and staff costs more than if we were to do it elsewhere. We love our community, and are willing to fund our schools at the quality of education we want for our children, while still living, working, and educating our children locally.
What is Scholars’ Circle?
Inaugurated in 1998, Scholars’ Circle Families contribute $10,000 and above, providing almost 50% of the funds raised by HSF. In recognition of their generous support, Scholars’ Circle donors are invited to an annual event featuring a distinguished speaker. For example, in 2021 families were honored to hear from Chief Executive Officer of the One Love Foundation, Katie Hood, who spoke on the topic of healthy relationships as a prevention against abuse and as an investment in the mental and physical health of the next generation.
What is the Endowment Fund?
The Fred Schwartz Endowment Fund was established in 1980 to ensure long-term stability for the Hillsborough City School District. Named for the first Crocker School principal, Fred Schwartz, the endowment fund continues to flourish through the generous support of our many donors, who strongly believe that only an endowment can safeguard the future of our Hillsborough schools. All donors to HSF have the opportunity to designate all or part of their donation to the endowment fund.
How are funds allocated to build the endowment each year?
There are several ways that funds are allocated to the endowment. First, it was with great foresight that several early HSF boards designated funds to the endowment for long-term investment. Second, donors may request that their donation, or a portion of it, be directly allocated to the endowment. Each year, the HSF Board transfers a percentage of the average net asset value as defined by the HSF Endowment Transfer Policy, from the endowment to the block grant HSF gives to the Hillsborough City School District. Part of our strategic plan calls for growing the endowment to a level where it generates a certain amount of income for HSF. As part of HSF’s ongoing strategic planning process, we reassess our plans for the endowment every 3 - 5 years. Stay tuned!
HOW DO YOU SET TICKET PRICES FOR HSF EVENTS?
Ticket prices are set to cover costs plus an additional amount to help fund the schools. Most events sell out, so we know we are setting the event prices lower than we could if we were just trying to maximize fundraising from each event. We believe that the events serve a community-building purpose in addition to raising funds, so we try to select appropriate venues and formats that the community will enjoy each year.