Frequently Asked Questions
The Hastings Education Foundation is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit charitable organization whose mission is to provide funds to enhance the educational environment throughout the Hastings Public Schools. Established in 1997, the Foundation works closely with the Board of Education, the Superintendent, the administration, teachers and members of the community to support the district’s programs and services.
The Foundation sends out one fundraising letter each year. We typically get donations ranging from $15 to $12,000 from a wide variety of sources including parents, grandparents, residents, alumni, teachers and corporate matching grants from businesses. Over the years, the Foundation has held a variety of different fundraising events. Please go to Benefit and Auction for information about this year’s Gala.
During the 1990s taxes continued to rise while state aid to our district diminished dramatically. A group of concerned citizens decided that it was imperative to develop outside sources of funding in order to maintain the level of excellence we all expect from the Hastings school system. An education foundation is a proven way to ensure that challenging and creative programs and initiatives remain funded. Your tax-deductible contributions to the Hastings Education Foundation benefit all children in the school system.
Each fall, teachers, students, and administrators are invited to submit applications for grants to support projects and programs for the school district. The applications are evaluated by department heads, school principals and the Superintendent before they are submitted to our grants committee. The committee evaluates the grants before submitting them to the Foundation board for approval after which they go to the School Board for final approval. Grants are awarded each spring. To date we have provided over $900,000 in grants to the Hastings Public Schools.
The Foundation is an all-volunteer organization with minimal expenses. The volunteer board members are responsible for most of the work we do. The Foundation does pay a part-time clerical worker who maintains our donor database and helps with our annual appeal. We work extremely hard to keep our expenses to a minimum.
The Hastings Education Foundation and the Hastings PTSA both seek to provide support for our schools and to encourage a strong volunteer base among our parent body. We have overlapping missions, but we differ in range and scope.
The Hastings Education Foundation is a local organization and has only one purpose: to raise money for the benefit of the Hastings Public Schools. Our mission is to enrich the education (academic, artistic, physical) of every student. Our financial assistance enables the schools to pursue projects and acquire facilities that they would otherwise be unable to afford. We make it possible for the schools to offer innovative programs that go beyond the required curriculum. Faculty, staff or administrators (and occasionally students) apply for grants for the next academic year. We award between $50,000 and $120,000 annually.
In contrast, the PTSA is a national organization; families pay dues to become members. PTSA volunteers take a more active role in the daily life of the schools, holding parent meetings and workshops, and sponsoring or providing hospitality for programs and social events for students, parents, and staff. It also engages in political advocacy on education issues. PTSA grants are awarded throughout the school year in response to staff requests for special projects or equipment, and it also offers financial aid to individual students for class trips or other expenses.
While the Foundation holds occasional fundraising events, most of our money comes from an Annual Appeal. Over the years, the Foundation has received gifts from a wide cross-section of Hastings residents in amounts ranging from five dollars to more than ten thousand dollars. We are grateful for every donation, large or small, and are proud that our grants benefit every single student in the Hastings Public School system.
Most communities in Westchester have decided, as we did, that the best way to maintain excellence in the face of rising taxes and diminished state aid is to establish a not-for-profit public schools foundation. We followed the lead of neighboring communities such as Bronxville, Dobbs Ferry, and Tarrytown when we established the Hastings Education Foundation in 1997. Since then almost every town in Westchester and many in Connecticut has done the same.
You can give a gift directly to the school, but we believe that pooling donations from many people will yield better results that are more consistent with our schools’ specific needs. Our Board takes the grant procedure very seriously to ensure that the grants benefit as many students as possible; in addition they must conform to the goals of the School District as well as the Foundation’s mission. All gifts to the school, including grants from the Foundation, must be accepted by the School Board.
You can support the Foundation in many ways. In addition to Foundation board members, there are dozens of people who volunteer each year to help us with our spring benefit. We welcome anyone who would like to donate time, energy, money, or talent to help us meet our goals. Donations are tax-deductible and may be made in the form of checks, stock, or bonds. We also encourage donations in memory of someone or in honor of a special teacher or student. Please visit our Get Involved page to learn more about getting involved with HEF.