Edmonton Public Schools have always benefited greatly from the contributions of multiple stakeholders, including individual donors, community partners, foundations, and corporations. Together, these donors supplement the basic funding provided by the Government of Alberta.
While we are a public school division and do receive government funding, there are many areas that are not funded through this specific allocation. Areas not covered by this funding include infrastructure like playgrounds, mental health supports, nutrition programs, and much more.
Our donors step up to provide the funding to make these wrap-around supports possible.
In 2003, Edmonton Public Schools commissioned a study to assess the feasibility of establishing a District Foundation. On April 10, 2007, the Administration brought forward a recommendation report about a framework for a District Foundation. Trustees voted to defer the recommendation for the next Board of Trustees to consider. On February 12, 2008, then Trustee Esslinger brought forward a motion for the Board to establish a District Foundation; it was passed.
The initial identified purpose of the Foundation was to promote public education and focus on engaging the community’s support in specific areas as determined by the Foundation board. Furthermore, the Foundation’s work would complement rather than replace District-level fundraising support systems and school-specific fundraising societies and foundations.
- To inform the community of the value of a strong public education system and the critical role elected officials play in advancing public education, and to complement the efforts of the Edmonton Public Schools’ Board of Trustees to broaden and deepen the support for Edmonton Public Schools and to engage the community in supporting the priorities of the District.
- To highlight the successes of Edmonton Public Schools. To tell our stories and encourage public engagement.
- To offer community members the opportunity to support teaching and learning through a variety of contributions – financial, in-kind donations and gifts of time.
- The Foundation officially launched on February 10, 2010 and was headquartered at John A. McDougall School . The Foundation moved its operations to Lauderdale School in 2012 and then to the Centre for Education in 2016.
On February 23, 2010, a Caucus Committee (then called Conference Committee) brought a recommendation to the public Board that “the fundraising priority for the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation to provide support for early intervention and student success be approved.” The body of the recommendation stated:
The members of the Board of Governors feel strongly that the fundraising priority for the Foundation must provide support for those students who are identified as the District’s most vulnerable and be broad enough in scope so that it can support existing research-based District initiatives, such as offering full-day Kindergarten and early learning opportunities.
The recommendation was unanimously carried.
At the October 25, 2011 Board Meeting, the Foundation brought forward a progress report about the Foundation. In that report, the stated purposes of the Foundation were to:
- Inform the community of the value of a strong public education system and the critical role elected officials play in advancing public education.
- Complement efforts of the Board of Trustees in broadening and deepening support for Edmonton Public Schools, particularly among the 70 per cent of Edmontonians who do not have a direct link to public education.
- Share stories about the teaching and learning occurring in our schools.
- Offer community members the opportunity to support teaching and learning through a variety of contributions – financial, in-kind and gifts of time.
In the 2010-11 school year, the Foundation began funding full-day Kindergarten at Tipaskan school.
In the 2011-12 school year, the Foundation began funding full-day Kindergarten at Lauderdale and Mee-Yah-Noh schools.
The October 25, 2011 progress report identifies the Foundation Board’s priority to secure financial and in-kind donations to supplement costs associated with early learning and full-day Kindergarten in some of the District’s most socially vulnerable elementary schools.
In the 2013-14 school year, the Foundation began funding full-day Kindergarten at Beacon Heights , Calder and Princeton schools.
Principal Sandra Woitas was designated to the position of founding Director of the Foundation in September 2009. She served in the position until 2014. Principal Tracy Poulin served as Director from February 2015 until her retirement in August of 2018. Fundraising professionals Graham Metzger and Emmy Stuebing lead the Foundation from 2018 until 2021. Current Director, Kyla Amrhein, joined the Foundation in June 2021.
Over the years, the Foundation Board has been made up of approximately 8 to 11 members. Each year at the District’s Organizational Board, a member of the Board of Trustees is appointed to serve on the Foundation Board. Dr. Louise Hayes held the role of Founding Chair of the Board of Directors, until it was assumed by Dr. Linda Miller in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the EPSB Foundation to reimagine how to best serve our students. As a result, the idea of broadening our fundraising efforts beyond Full-Day Kindergarten was explored. This recognizes that we can support Edmonton’s most socially-vulnerable learners in many important ways. Full-Day Kindergarten will forever be a priority; we are adapting our work to reflect current needs and research, with the goal of extending our impact to more of those who need it most in our community.
In an effort to expand its impact on the Division and serve more students, the Foundation’s Board of Directors unanimously supported the motion to expand its fundraising priorities on Monday, October 25, 2021. This was taken to the Board of Trustees on February 1, 2022, and was passed unanimously. With this motion passed, the Foundation’s Board of Directors created a subcommittee to take on this important work.
The newly developed priorities were presented to the Foundation’s Board of Directors on April 27, 2022, and were unanimously approved. As of this date, the Foundation has expanded its fundraising pillars to include:
This information was presented to the Board of Trustees on May 17, 2022.
The students served by Edmonton Public Schools are diverse. Many come from complex home and social environments, facing barriers that impede successful learning, or even positive learning experiences. In order to have the greatest impact across the Division, our strategies and projects are evolving so that together with our community partners, we will support more learners in more ways. These situations are not confined to geographic boundaries or single communities. All schools play an important role in equaling the playing field for children as learners.