Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we?

The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) is a 501(c)(3) organization that works to support and advance public education in Arlington, Massachusetts. We fund system wide initiatives and creative new projects to enhance the educational experiences of Arlington’s teachers and students.

AEF was incorporated in 2010, when the Arlington Educational Enrichment Fund (AEEF) and the Arlington Schools Foundation (ASF) merged to form a single education foundation for Arlington.

What do we do?

AEF supports Arlington’s teachers and students through the following grant programs.

  • Our Innovations in Education Grants support innovative teaching and learning projects in the Arlington Public Schools.
  • Our Development and Expansion Grants support the development of new educational strategies, including the expansion of pilot projects, professional development and resources, and administrative leadership initiatives that enhance curriculum and/or community in the Arlington Public Schools.
  • Our District Investment Grants (formerly School Improvement Grants) support systemic long-term change in the Arlington Public Schools.
  • Continuing Scholar Awards support Arlington educator’s education experiences that will in turn benefit their students.

More information on our grants programs can be found here.

What programs have we supported?

  • Start up materials for Arlington High School Intro to Archaeology program
  • Re-introduction of computer science at the High School, establishment of Digital Arts Studio and mobile scientific workstations
  • Technology for Ottoson Technology & Engineering curriculum and creation of Digital Media & Literacy curriculum
  • Establishment of Teacher Leadership training method
  • Bishop School garden curriculum connecting every grade to the outdoor classroom school garden
  • Arlington High School makerspace
  • Arlington’s membership in Primary Source which provides social studies professional development, resources, and educational opportunities for teachers across the district
  • Creation of 4th grade Teosinte, El Salvador curriculum
  • The introduction of Colonial Days
  • The Engineering is Elementary program
  • The first school play at the Thompson School
  • The 2010 Bridge the Gap campaign, a one-time effort that restored 18 positions cut from the Arlington Public Schools budget

Who can apply for AEF grants?

Arlington teachers, administrators, parents, or community members can apply forInnovations in Education grants (non-school-based applicants must be partnered with the Arlington Public Schools).

Any Arlington Public Schools educator who has worked for the district for at least three calendar years and is returning to the district in the following year is eligible to apply for a Continuing Scholar Award.

Arlington Public Schools teachers and administrators can apply for Development and Expansion Grants (all grants must be approved by the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction).

District Investment Grants are by invitation only.

What is our relationship to the Arlington Public Schools?

AEF supports ideas generated from within and from outside the school system.  We are independent of the schools, but the AEF board includes a School Committee representative, a teacher, and a liaison from the Superintendent’s office. This cooperation ensures that AEF is aware of the key priorities of the school system.

What is the role of AEF in school funding?

AEF funds are an adjunct to the school budget and, in general, will not replace revenue from local, state, or federal sources. As a non-profit corporation, AEF provides the school system with access to private and foundation funding.

Do other towns have private foundations that assist their public schools?

Yes. At least 35 towns and cities in Massachusetts, including Belmont, Brookline, Lexington, Newton, and Winchester, have educational foundations which have had a positive impact on their public schools.

How can the public be assured that its gifts will be used appropriately?

AEF is a public charity. As such, it is subject to federal and state tax laws governing non-profit organizations. Our board meetings are open to the public, and we invite members of the community to attend and participate. AEF requires measurable milestones for all grants awarded to the schools, and we regularly publish grant proposals and reports on our website.  Approximately 95% of our operating budget is devoted to grants for programs and projects that directly benefitted Arlington’s students and teachers; only 5% goes to administrative and fundraising expenses.

How can Arlington residents support AEF?

You can make a tax-deductible donation to AEF online or by mailing a check payable to “Arlington Education Foundation” to:

Arlington Education Foundation
P.O. Box 80
Arlington, MA 02476

We also welcome help with fundraising, publicity, events, grant writing and support, and educational research. For more information, contact us at

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