Endowment Grants

Do You Have a Great Idea for the Northampton Schools?

Announcing the Seventeenth Annual Request for Proposals from the Northampton Education Foundation Endowment Fund

The NEF Endowment Fund has up to $80,000 available for grants for the 2023-24 academic year. Over the past sixteen years, grants have financed a wide range of programs and projects in the Northampton schools, including: development of a Plant Science and Food Justice Course at NHS; exploring the effects of climate change in partnership with the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary; hands on robotics; city-wide elementary school gardens for outdoor classrooms; the Breakfast After the Bell program; anti-racism projects with Self Evident Media; synchronized music and poetry partnerships with Hartford High Schools (MAPS); and collaborations between the Northampton Schools and the Hitchcock Center, Grow Food Northampton, and All Out Adventures. This year, the Endowment Fund is seeking to fund multiple innovative projects aimed at having a lasting impact on our schools. We encourage new and continuing applicants. We hope to see creative ideas that will enrich and enhance our students’ educational experience.

A Proposal May be Submitted by Any Group or Individual with Demonstrated Support from School Personnel. This year we are looking to fund grants of one year duration.

We are seeking proposals with the following attributes:

InnovationA proposed project should bring something new and different to current practice or curricula in Northampton schools. (Applicants may be asked to demonstrate that an approach or technique is supported by research.)

Broad BasedWe prefer programs affecting large numbers of students, such as system-wide, school-wide, multi-grade programs, or those involving multiple schools.

Enduring and Continuing ImpactWe favor programs that create lasting benefits to students,

curriculum and programming that enrich, enhance, and support the goals and priorities of the Northampton School Department and the School Councils.

Descriptions of previously funded programs are at www.northamptoneducation.org 

Your preliminary proposal of no more than five pages must be submitted by March 1, 2023 and should include the following information:

  1. A succinct description of your project.
  2. Identification of the group or individual making the proposal.
  3. Identification of the school or schools the program will target.
  4. A statement of when the program will begin and how long it will last. Note that this year we are looking to fund grants of one year duration.
  5. Identification of the school personnel who support your proposal.
  6. An assessment of the resources needed for the project.
  7. An outline of your preliminary budget.
  8. A description of your project’s value to Northampton Schools.
  9. A description of the continuing and lasting contribution your project will make.
  10. An explanation of how you will measure and assess this program.

The NEF Endowment Fund Distribution Committee will screen preliminary proposals. If your proposal is selected for review, Committee members may work with you to refine your final submission. Finalists will present their proposals to the Distribution Committee. Final award determinations will be made by the NEF Board and announced by the end of this school year.

Send proposals electronically by 3/1/2023 to: Stan Schapiro at schapirostan@gmail.com or Josh Bedell at jbedell2@gmail.com. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.

“The NEF Endowment provides a permanent source of educational funding to support learning and educational enrichment across our district. It is an invaluable resource for Northampton’s public schools, and I am proud to count myself among both its founders and investors.”            

– Mayor David J. Narkewicz

Public Education in Northampton

Strong public schools enrich the community for everyone.

By providing outstanding education to children of all backgrounds and income levels, Northampton public schools prepare students to become informed citizens who go on to top colleges, fulfilling careers, and rewarding lives. Excellent public schools strengthen neighborhoods, raise property values, and foster civic pride.

The actual cost of educating Northampton students greatly exceeds the funding provided by taxes, and schools are forced to work within shrinking budgets. Both in Northampton and nationally, public schools face mounting challenges.

The NEF Endowment

Since 1991. the Northampton Education Foundation (NEF) has enhanced public schools in Northampton through its signature Small Grants to Teachers program. NEF grants supplement the school budget, providing experiences that elevate education from strong to exceptional. In 2004, NEF founded its Endowment, to ensure that funding will continue in perpetuity – and allow educators to plan more far-reaching projects with a longer-term focus.

A safety net in uncertain times

With a strong NEF Endowment, teachers will have the resources to promise a first-class educational experience, regardless of the economic or political climate. Public education in Northampton will thrive, and our students will be prepared for the world ahead.=

“NEF has contributed more than $100,000 this school year to projects happening in classrooms throughout the district. With their support, we have been able to provide students with learning experiences that enhance their understanding of the environment, the arts, and technology, and that strengthen their connections to the local community.”

Dr. John Provost, Superintendent, Northampton Public Schools 

Why an endowment?

Building on a model used by colleges and private schools, and increasingly by public school districts, the NEF Endowment represents fiscal responsibility and a strong commitment to the future. Money given to the Endowment is not spent, but rather carefully invested through the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Interest from these investments is used to give multi-year grants to the schools, and to sustain successful, proven projects. A portion of the interest is re-invested, so each donation – and the Endowment – continues to grow.

Gifts from local parents, alumni, community members, and businesses become an educational legacy. What a powerful combination of private resources for one of our city’s most important public resources.

“The NEF Endowment is critical to the Northampton Public Schools in our efforts to bring profound innovation, enrichment, and change in our mission to educate all our students.”

– Gwen Agna, Principal, Jackson Street School

“As a teacher and advisor to a variety of clubs, teams, and organizations, I am profoundly grateful for the role the NEF Endowment has played in offering my students ways to further improve their education beyond the walls of the classroom. From 3D modeling boot camps to media production workshops, NEF provides my students the opportunity to learn and grow in meaningful and creative ways.”

– Jeromie Whalen, Technology Teacher, Northampton High School

A proven track record

In its first decade, with great community support, NEF grew its Endowment to more than $1 million, and has given more than $500,000 in Endowment grants to date. From school gardens to 3D printers, from ancient Greek history to high school robotics, the NEF Endowment has funded innovative projects that strengthen a Northampton public school education.

  • 25+ year proven track record of successful NEF projects
  • Committed, enthusiastic Board
  • Building on an already significant Endowment
  • Strong support from the community: schools, local businesses, individuals
  • Fiscal responsibility: exceptional management by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts
  • Variety of ways to give at all levels
  • A legacy of excellent public education, in perpetuity.

Who supports the NEF Endowment?

Our supporters include families with children in the school system, those whose children have attended local schools, alumni, local businesses, and community members who recognize the greater, long-term good of a vibrant public education system.

So many ways to give

You may be able to make a significant gift today (and we would be delighted and appreciative). You may feel strongly about supporting the NEF Endowment, but need to fit it carefully into your budget. There are so many ways to give, including:

  • Outright gifts: cash, check, credit card
  • Multi-year gifts/pledges
  • Employer matches
  • Stocks
  • NEF as a beneficiary in your will
  • Real estate
  • Charitable gift annuities
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Bequests
  • IRA, 401 (K), 403 (b) or other qualified retirement plan assetsOutright gifts: cash, check, credit card

We would be pleased to discuss different giving options with you.  Please contact mwohl@comcast.net for more information.

The Northampton Education Foundation and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts are both tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations. Your gift to the NEF Endowment Fund is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. 

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Innovation today.

A legacy for tomorrow.

Excellence in public education forever.