RANCHO SANTA FE — While it’s summer break at the R. Roger Rowe School District school, the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation announced its organization had a productive year. Every year, the foundation works toward a financial goal to help support the district.
According to Development Director Barbara Edwards, the foundation met the annual grant request from the Rancho Santa Fe School District and the annual campaign contributed $1 million to the district operating budget.
The endowment fund is a longstanding tradition, which has evolved over the years.
“The RSF School Endowment Fund was started by 10 RSF School families in 1997 to ensure the long-term health of the district just surpassed $5 million and made a $160,000 distribution to the district this year,” Edwards said. “Support from the Community Partners Program remains robust under the leadership of RSFEF Community Partners chair Lea Park. Community Partners underwrite all donor recognition events for the RSFEF, allowing parent contributions to go straight to the district for the benefit of all RSF students.”
Serving as chair for the foundation this school year was Julie Buechler along with Andy Pollin as vice chair.
Edwards said parent participation for the annual campaign achieved an impressive 84 percent. She described this number as the second highest within the past six years.
“I am tremendously proud of the entire parent volunteer board of trustees for working together to present a compelling message of school philanthropy to the R. Roger Rowe parent community,” she said. “RSFEF annual giving chairs Julie Buechler and Hazel Bentinck led a terrific campaign, and the communication team of Beth Vincik and Lea Park provided great support in getting the word out that contributions are welcome and appreciated in any amount.”
Edwards said parent involvement adds so much to the student experience at R. Roger Rowe.
“Parent volunteerism is a hallmark of the R. Roger Rowe experience and so is the RSFEF,” she said.
Edwards often reminds people that R. Roger Rowe is a public school and contributions to the foundation are voluntary and go to the district for unrestricted use. Because of this, the overall process does require trust from parents, she said, that the school board and district will utilize the money for the best interest of its students.
“I am proud that despite the distraction of a school board appointment, recall and special election, R. Roger Rowe parents kept the focus on the kids and increased participation this year,” Edwards said.
The mission of the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation is to have ongoing and consistent goals in order to fulfill the financial request from the district through its annual grant endeavors. Edwards also noted that other goals include the increase of parent participation while supporting and championing a total of 36 events throughout the school year.
“The number of events the RSFEF leads and supports is ambitious for a school with just under 400 families,” she said. “We always look at making events meaningful yet sustainable and as turnkey as possible.”
Edwards added, “This year Halloween Carnival co-chairs Stacy Harris and Sherry Wilson utilized eighth-grade volunteers to help run booths and games, which allowed parents more time to enjoy this popular event with their students.”
Edwards said the feedback from having student volunteers on hand was extremely positive. For Edwards, the foundation looks at all events with an eye toward the most sustainable model for execution.
Because the R. Roger Rowe is in the heart of the Village, its community partners, as well as residents, also play a vital role.
“We are fortunate that the Inn continues to sponsor a Community Partners Reception for us each September, where we get to say thank you and introduce the community to the RSF District administration,” she said.