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Kiddo! is the primary fundraising organization for the Mill Valley School District. Founded in 1982 as the Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation, Kiddo! is an independent, non-profit, public-benefit corporation that has raised more than $40 million for Mill Valley’s six K-8 public schools. Kiddo!’s mission originally focused on preserving arts education programming in Mill Valley schools. Due to state budget cuts, Kiddo!'s scope has expanded over the years. In collaboration with the school district, Kiddo! also supports other vital programs that benefit all students, including physical education and innovative teaching programs. Kiddo!'s goal is to raise $2.9 million in 2020 to fund these programs for the 2020-21 school year.
Kiddo! was founded in response to the passage of Proposition 13, which drastically reduced property taxes and, correspondingly, public school funding. As a result, numerous vital programs would simply not be available to Mill Valley public school students without the annual contributions of our district families and community.
Kiddo! remains committed to supporting the Mill Valley School District by providing funding support for quality arts education and other worthy initiatives. While our hope is to meet and even possibly exceed our fundraising goal for the 2020-2021 school year, we are tightening our belt and reducing our budget by approximately 13% to $2.9 million. A multitude of circumstances contributed to this difficult decision including:
• Five consecutive years of declining enrollment (fewer families = smaller donor base)
• Lower than projected parent participation
• Fundraising shortfalls the past two years, despite contributing $100,000 to the 2019-20 budget from the Kiddo! Reserve fund
• COVID-19 related economic uncertainty and its impact on district families and businesses.
94% of Kiddo!'s program expenses pay for teachers' salaries and benefits. Kiddo!'s 2020-2021 budget is based on no reductions to arts education programs. There may be budget revisions, however, if the district makes changes to the program offerings.
Kiddo! provides the funds required for these district needs:
• Art teachers and materials (grades K-8)
• Vocal Music teachers and supplies (grades K-8)
• Instrumental Music teachers, specialists and supplies (grades 4-8)
• Dance specialists (grades K, 4 & 5)
• Curriculum-integrated Drama Programs (grades 2 & 4-8)
• Poetry specialists (grades 1 & 3-6)
• Teacher Grants for innovative teaching programs (all schools)
• Physical Education teachers (grades K-5)
• Music Technology (MVMS)
• Robotics (MVMS)
• Scientific Drawing (all 7th graders)
• Math "Design a House Project" (all 6th graders)
For the past two years, Kiddo! has committed to funding 100% of the World Language Pilot program for all Kindergarten and First Grade students. To help cover the expense of this program, for the past two years we raised supplemental funds during our Annual Campaign through an optional giving request which amounted to 22% of actual program costs ($50K raised vs 2 yr. cost of $225K). As a result, in May of 2020, Kiddo! informed the parent community and MVSD that it would not be able to contribute to the cost of this program for the 2020-21 school year. Subsequently, prior to the start of the school year, MVSD made the decision to put the World Language on hold for this school year. With only 2.5 hours of learning on site when in-person instruction is expected to resume, all learning is truncated for the year and will be solely devoted to meeting instructional minutes in core academics as required in SB98.
If Kiddo! does not meet its annual fundraising goal, the Mill Valley School District may have to reduce or eliminate Kiddo!-funded programs in current or future years, as there are no other sources for funding these programs. It is only thanks to your support that these essential programs and services continue to be provided for each of our students. Fundraising shortfalls in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school year have resulted in reduced funding support to the District from Kiddo! for the 2020-21 school year.
Kiddo! makes an annual commitment to the Mill Valley School District to fund these essential programs and services. Kiddo! asks district families to contribute each year to Kiddo!’s Annual Campaign to raise funds to meet these commitments. To fund all existing Kiddo! programs in the current school year, the request per student is $1,350. Please give as generously as you can. Every amount helps! Our goal is to have 100% family participation and we appreciate donations of all sizes. In recent years, donations have ranged in size from $25 to $50,000.
Absolutely. Gifts of any size are welcome and appreciated. Every dollar truly helps make a difference. Our goal is for 100% of district families to participate at whatever financial level is comfortable for them.
COVID-19 has caused a great degree of economic uncertainty. To achieve our budgeted fundraising goal of $2.9 million, we are keeping the per-student ask at $1,350. Our district's student enrollment has been shrinking for the past five years, which is primarily driven by the national birth rate trend, and fewer families means fewer donors. In addition, parent participation has fallen below our projections for the past two years. Teacher salaries also continue to increase, which means every year, it costs more to do the same. Therefore, in order to continue providing the Kiddo! funded programs in our District while simultaneously accounting for declines in families and fundraising, our Board supports keeping the ask at $1,350.
Kiddo!’s Annual Campaign kicks off at the beginning of each May to raise funds for the upcoming school year. By starting the fundraising cycle each Spring, Kiddo! can help the District plan ahead to secure staffing for programs that begin that August. We encourage families to make their annual donation in May, but donations are appreciated at any time.
These are great ways to augment your gift! You can designate Kiddo! on your United Way contribution, or ask your HR department if your employer matches gifts to non-profit organizations. All matching gifts count toward your total gift. You can also click here to see if your company matches gifts.
With thousands of households in the Mill Valley School District, we need to reach out several times throughout the year. This means we sometimes communicate to families who have already donated. Please know that our goal is simply to ensure that we get enough family involvement and support to fund the programs that are so valuable to each child’s education.
Yes! Many people spread payments out over time. You can sign up for an automatic credit card payment or checking account withdrawal each month, or you can create a custom monthly payment schedule, provided payments conclude no later than the end of the school year. Create a payment plan online or on the mail-in form, or call the Kiddo! office at 415-389-7789. Start the payment plan process here.
In addition to your annual donation, there are a number of other ways to help support Kiddo!:
• Earn money for Kiddo! while you shop. Some merchants will automatically donate to Kiddo! while you shop. Learn what merchants to visit and how to sign up for shopping rebate programs.
• Volunteer to join the Kiddo! Spring Gala Committee. Kiddo! encourages everyone to attend the Kiddo! Spring Gala, held every other year. Our next Gala is scheduled for March of 2021 (Subject to change based on COVID-19 restrictions). Note: Some of the proceeds from the Gala benefit the Kiddo! Endowment for the Arts, but may be used to fund teachers and programs if Annual Campaign goals are not met in a given year.
• Volunteer. Kiddo! relies on many volunteers for our success. Make new friends and have fun while doing something vitally important for our schools! Learn about opportunities.
The District, PTAs, and Kiddo! work together to deliver an exemplary education at every school. Each school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) raises money for school-specific enhancements such as classroom supplies, library books, parent education, and parent education and community events at that school. Kiddo! helps the district by providing the funding for arts education and academic programs equitably across the District. The funding that Kiddo! provides is primarily used by the district to pay the salaries of its teachers and specialists for district-wide programs, including art, music, P.E., curriculum-integrated drama, dance, and poetry. Please support both organizations, as both provide vital programs and services at your school.
The Mill Valley School Board and District administration determine the curriculum for the District, establish priorities for program development, and identify crucial District needs. Kiddo! then collaborates with the District to provide funding where needed to execute the Board-approved plan. All programs and services funded by Kiddo! are developed and managed by the District, and all teachers and staff are employees or contractors of the District. Click here to learn more about the Mill Valley School District.