Mission & History
Our mission is to engage the community to invest in a vibrant educational experience for all students in the Santa Monica and Malibu public schools.
Established in 1982 in response to devastating federal and state education budget cuts, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) was organized by a dedicated group of parents, community leaders, and local business owners to enhance and supplement the curriculum of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
The 1980s and 1990s
During the first 15 years of its existence, SMMEF’s fundraising grew from $25,000 to $100,000 annually. It did this mostly through a raffle and one event. Recognizing the importance of annual sustainable funds in order to support programs District-wide, the Education Foundation created an Academic Endowment in 1998. The Bells and Books of Knowledge campaign raised $1 million and donors were recognized through sculptures on the Third Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica, which are still there today.
In 2002, an active and passionate group of parents and arts supporters approached SMMEF to conduct an Arts Endowment fundraising campaign, which, over three years, raised $2 million. This was a high profile campaign with a strong Steering Committee and a stellar Honorary Committee. In addition to the Arts Endowment campaign, SMMEF was raising about $250,000 annually at that time.
From 2006 to 2010, SMMEF’s fundraising activities included annual appeals, benefit concerts and corporate partnership events. These fundraising efforts supported vital programs that impact students district-wide. During this time, SMMEF focused on strengthening its brand and developing a strategic vision.
2010: Save Our Schools Campaign
In May 2010, in response to the State budget crisis, the SMMUSD Board of Education voted to cut key personnel and programs and said that the only way those programs could be restored was through a district-wide emergency fundraising campaign. As a result, the SMMEF led a Save Our Schools (SOS) campaign which raised nearly $1.6 million in 60 days! The collaboration was extraordinary and, for the first time ever, parents leveraged their contacts and resources to ensure programming for all schools. SOS was stunning and it exemplified what we are able to accomplish when we work together for a common goal.
2011: Centralized Fundraising and the Vision for Student Success
In November 2011, the Board of Education, faced with glaring inequities of programming in our District and the prospect of additional cuts to programming, voted to change the Board Policy 3290 Gift Policy to create a centralized fundraising model for the district. In the new model, PTAs and Booster Clubs at each school can fundraise for equipment, materials and student experiences like field trips and assemblies. Funds for additional personnel are raised through district-wide fundraising by the Education Foundation. The Board of Education authorized the Superintendent to create a Superintendent’s Advisory Group (SAG) to work out the implementation issues related to a centralized fundraising model. This group still exists and is now the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee (SAC).
Branded as the Vision for Student Success, SMMEF fundraising for district wide programing began in 2012.
2014 - Present: Equitable Programs for all Students
District-wide SMMEF-funded programs were first implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. The programs included highly-trained instructional assistants, literacy coaches, art instruction for every elementary grade, additional teaching periods for middle and high schools, better professional development for teachers and instructional assistants, and discretionary grants for school-specific enrichment programs.
With the passage of the district’s 2015-2016 budget, the Board of Education voted that literacy coaches, secondary school staffing, and professional development programs would be funded through the district’s general fund for the 2015-2016 school year onward.
Today, your donations to SMMEF, along with endowments, fund the following programs:
- Arts education for all elementary students
- 87 instructional assistants
- Ballroom dance for all 5th graders
- $750,000 in enrichment grants to be used for innovative staff and programs at each school
- Recorders for all 3rd graders
- Dance classes, theater programs and visual arts grants at middle and high schools
- Two music classes at Olympic High School
- Semi-private music lessons and instruments for socioeconomically disadvantaged students
- Additional funding for our 16 school libraries, through the American Book Drive
Please visit the Impact section of our website to see stories, testimonials and videos that highlight the incredible impact of SMMEF-funded programs, on all of our students.