Endowment Fund Enrich students’ educational experience

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.

Planned Giving Opportunities

By committing today to making a planned gift to the NEF Endowment, you will have a lasting impact on public education in Northampton. Your gift will reap dividends for our community’s schoolchildren in perpetuity.

Past Funded Grants

For nearly twenty years, the Endowment has financed a wide range of programs and projects including: the 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.

Fund Goals

The Endowment funds multiple innovative projects aimed at having a lasting impact on our schools. We encourage new and continuing applicants and 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. Grants are funded for one year.

We are seeking proposals with the following attributes:



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


Broad Based

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


Enduring and Continuing Impact

We 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.

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

  • A succinct description of your project.
  • Identification of the group or individual making the proposal.
  • Identification of the school or schools the program will target.
  • A statement of when the program will begin and how long it will last.
  • Identification of the school personnel who support your proposal.
  • An assessment of the resources needed for the project.
  • An outline of your preliminary budget.
  • A description of your project’s value to the Northampton schools.
  • A description of the continuing and lasting contribution your project will make.
  • An explanation of how you will measure and assess this program.

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.

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

The NEF Endowment

Est. 2004

The Northampton Education Foundation (NEF) has enhanced public schools in Northampton through its signature Small Grants to Teachers program since 1991. NEF grants supplement the school budget, providing experiences that elevate education from strong to exceptional. In 2004, NEF launched 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

Resources to promise a first-class educational experience

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

Why an endowment?

A strong commitment to the future

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.

A proven track record

Funding innovative projects

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?

Huge thanks to our supporters

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 assets

Your Donation Helps Us Help Students

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.

Who Decides What Is Funded?

The Endowment Distribution Committee will review proposals and make recommendations to the NEF Board on what proposals should be funding from the NEF Endowment Fund and for how much .  This committee consists of a parent representative from each school, one or two students from Northampton High School, Northampton public school alumni, community members (i.e., Northampton residents who are not parents, teachers, or students), and members of the NEF Board.  The NEF Board will take the committee’s recommendation and make the final decisions regarding funding of all projects.

Reporting and Monitoring Progress

Grantees are expected to provide an annual report to the Distribution Committee describing their accomplishments and their progress towards fulfilling the goals of the proposal. For multi-year projects, the annual report will also include plans to further meet the goals and any modifications of the project.


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

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

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

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