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Northampton Education Foundation
P.O. Box 299, Northampton, MA  01061
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NEF Endowment Fund

A Community Investment in Our Public Schools

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Voices for Our Future
View the NEF Endowment Video.

Northampton Education Foundation Announces
Fifth Year Distribution Awards From Endowment

click headline for details

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."
- Holly Ghazey and Kathy Kozaczek, Jackson Street School 5th grade teachers

"The kind of voluntary community funding of schools represented by the NEF gives the community a stake in the schools and a motivation to have them succeed… I am increasingly proud of the projects that NEF has been able to support over the years."
- Pamela Hunter, Northampton School Committee

"We feel that the NEF has greatly enriched us as students and performers… when the Poetry Slam is over, we all feel motivated to write and explore literature."
- Julia Drake and Edward Rueda, Northampton High School students

"It was the hardest thing I have ever undertaken with students, and I could not be happier with the results. This project has brought great pride to both my students and myself… Without the support of organizations such as yours, students would not be able to benefit from such educational endeavors as this."
- John Crescitelli, 6th grade teacher, writing about the creation of a Middle School orientation book for new students

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:

"The Northampton Education Foundation has become a vital source of support and enrichment for our schools, and that’s why I’m so excited about the Endowment. The NEF Endowment Fund is a testament to this community’s commitment to our children and the future of quality public education."
- The Honorable Mary Clare Higgins, Mayor of Northampton

"An endowment can serve to enrich the quality of education and provide programs and materials that may not be within the scope of the annual school budget… It speaks well of the generosity of families, the commitment and effort of the organizers and collective concern for the state of public education here."
- Daily Hampshire Gazette Editorial

"The NEF Endowment Fund is our opportunity as a community to support and celebrate the lasting impact of a great education for today’s children and generations to come. Now all of us can make a meaningful contribution to Northampton’s public schools."
- Suzanne Beck, Executive Director   Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce

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:

Peter Bigwood Monica Green David Narkewicz
Gerald Budgar Lucy Hartry Martin Wohl
Karin George Jim Levey  

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:

Martin Wohl ((413) 584-2639
Stan Schapiro (413) 584-3983

Last Updated: September 20, 2011