NEF Endowment Fund
A Community Investment in Our Public Schools
Voices for Our Future
View the NEF Endowment Video.
Northampton Education Foundation Announces
Meeting New Challenges
Northampton has enjoyed quality public education for many years, but our rich legacy is threatened by potentially destructive economic times. School districts across Massachusetts are being told to do more with less as state and local governments grapple with record budget shortfalls. Teacher layoffs loom, books and equipment are limited, extracurricular programs are being cut, and even core offerings like library services face elimination.
Private schools and colleges are also operating in tough economic times, but their endowments help maintain financial stability and academic excellence. Endowment principal is not spent; instead it is carefully invested to yield a steady, reliable source of income in perpetuity. A strong endowment insulates private schools from the short-term economic pressures facing their public school counterparts. Therein lies a solution.
Across America, communities have organized private endowments to supplement their public schools. Here in Massachusetts, from the largest school districts in Boston, Framingham, Brookline, and Newton to small communities like Shelburne Falls, Great Barrington, and Williamstown, public school endowments are making a difference.
In the Pioneer Valley, public school endowments have been created in Hatfield, South Hadley, Pelham, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, and now most importantly, Northampton.
Endowing the Northampton Public Schools
The Northampton Education Foundation was founded in 1991 by parents, educators, and community leaders dedicated to strengthening education in Northampton public schools.
The NEF mission is clear and unwavering: to fund projects and programs that expand educational opportunities, foster creativity and enhance academic experiences for all Northampton school children. NEF also works to build community support for Northampton’s public schools.
In an ambitious extension of this important mission, NEF has launched the NEF Endowment Fund, a permanent, self-sustaining, multi-million dollar fund that will ensure future excellence and innovation in our city schools.
The NEF Endowment Fund provides a permanent source of funding for the educational needs of Northampton public schools in all areas of curriculum, faculty development and extracurricular programs and activities. Currently, the Endowment Fund has the assets of its first $1 million, gifted and pledged, invested in the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
Building on the private school model, the NEF Endowment Fund promises to provide a permanent source of supplemental funding that can help stabilize and protect Northampton’s public schools now and in the future.
A Proven Track Record
The Northampton Education Foundation is perhaps best known for its Small Grants to Teachers program. Over the past 12 years, NEF has raised private donations totaling more than $400,000 and invested those dollars in our public schools. Hundreds of Northampton educators have participated in NEF-funded projects, touching the lives of thousands of children:
"In their yearbook…62% of our students cited Nature’s Classroom as the most memorable experience of their entire elementary career. Thank you, NEF, for helping our children develop self esteem, community spirit and a love of learning."
NEF funding has made a major impact on the quality of public education in Northampton. It is upon that record of accomplishment that the NEF builds the Endowment Fund.
Investing More Dollars in Our Schools
The generosity of annual donors has enabled NEF to carry out its all-volunteer mission each year. Imagine how much more Northampton could accomplish for its schools with a long-term Endowment Fund complementing short-term fundraising efforts.
And while we can’t guarantee there will never be another school bake sale, a $1,000,000 NEF Endowment Fund could generate as much as $50,000 per year for our city’s schools in perpetuity.
In addition to small, one-year grants, an endowment enables NEF to fund larger needs in our public schools and projects that are multi-year in length. See Programs Funded by the Endowment.
The new possibilities for enriching our children’s education are limited only by the size and financial strength of the NEF Endowment Fund.
A Permanent Source of Education Funding
The Endowment will provide a permanent source of funding for our children’s educational needs in all areas of school curriculum, faculty development, and extracurricular programs and activities.
Endowment dollars will supplement the Northampton school budget, not replace local or state funding. NEF dollars are private, but support the work of our School Councils, School Improvement Plans, PTO’s, district-wide curriculum goals and other local educational planning efforts.
An open and inclusive community-based funding review process will ensure that Endowment dollars benefit children in every school and from every neighborhood of our richly diverse city.
The NEF Endowment Fund is a “locally owned” source of additional education funding, ending total reliance on Boston, Washington, D.C., and divisive Proposition 2½ overrides to meet the needs of our schools.
Community Foundation: A Trusted Partner
The Northampton Education Foundation is committed to the long-term growth and security of the NEF Endowment Fund, which is why we have formed an important partnership with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts maintains over 350 endowed funds, managing the charitable distributions from over $90 million in assets.
The NEF Endowment Fund will be professionally managed and invested under the supervision of a community-based Investment Committee, and pooled into a balanced, conservative portfolio.
Building on a Solid Foundation of Support
In the NEF Endowment Fund’s first several months – even before a formal fundraising campaign was launched – NEF secured Leadership donations and pledges totaling more than $250,000 from families who agree that a public school endowment is an idea whose time has come.
The excitement and grassroots community support generated by the NEF Endowment Fund effort have been incredible. City leaders and opinion makers have resoundingly endorsed NEF’s campaign to build an endowment for Northampton’s public schools:
A Legacy for Northampton’s Children
The Northampton Education Foundation brings a long record of experience, creativity, and public trust to the campaign to build an Endowment Fund for the schoolchildren of Northampton, but we cannot do it alone.
Generous community and alumni support of the NEF Endowment Fund will create a strong future for our schools so that they will continue to give our community the thinkers, the builders, and the leaders of tomorrow.
NEF Endowment Steering Committee
Members of the NEF Endowment Steering Committee include:
Making Contributions to the NEF Endowment Fund
Please use our contribution form to make a donation, or contact a board member for more information on how you can contribute your time or money to the NEF Endowment Fund:
Last Updated: September 20, 2011