On the heels of its most successful fundraising year to date, the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation has a new president who hopes to encourage even more donations in support of the local public school system in the coming 12 months.
Paul Murray, the foundation’s recently seated president, takes some pride in the fact that the organization will soon cut La Cañada Unified a $2 million check, the biggest in its history.
“That's an unprecedented success for the foundation and this community, and it's my intention to build on that incredible success story,” Murray said in an email. He gave high praise to the efforts of last year’s president, Valerie Aenlle-Rocha, and the entire community. “We are sincerely grateful to everyone who made the sacrifices to donate.”
Since the foundation's inception in 1978, it has donated more than $15 million to the school district. Two million dollars is nearly double the foundation’s average annual donation amount.
“Unfortunately, our need remains just as great, if not greater,” Murray said. “Our goal this year is to build on our success and raise even more for our schools, our kids and our community.”
A district task force formed early this year in the wake of state budget cuts drew attention to La Cañada Unified’s $6 million budget gap and led to more people donating to the foundation. Some campuses boasted a nearly 90% participation rate, said Murray, who’s set on bringing that number even higher.
“We will continue to strive to reach 100% participation,” said Murray, who served as the executive vice president last year and has been a board member with the Foundation since 2008. “We know that not everyone can afford to be a platinum partner (contributions of $2,500 and above), but everyone should be able to give something — whether it's a straight donation, or a grant of goods or services.”
One way Murray hopes to increase participation is through getting more La Cañada businesses involved with the Educational Foundation. He says the organization will “aggressively seek sponsorship and underwriting opportunities for our local businesses” so they can help support La Cañada’s school like anyone else.
Murray is also set on enhancing the way the foundation interacts with the community. The group took steps to improve its communication this past year with a revamped website and an increased presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“It's our goal to talk to the community every week about the issues and challenges we're facing, but also about the things we're accomplishing together for our kids,” Murray said.
To donate to the Educational Foundation, visit its website at lcfef.org/donate or by calling (818) 952-4268. Murray can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell phone, (818) 454-2412.