The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) was officially incorporated in 2010, but our history goes back over twenty years. In 1990, a group of Arlington residents founded the Arlington Educational Enrichment Fund (AEEF) to fund innovative classroom projects. The Arlington Schools Foundation was incorporated in 2001, as a response to the Arlington Public Schools’ Strategic Plan, so that the schools could be eligible for private grant money.
AEEF funded hundreds of individual projects and programs over the years, while ASF focused on system-wide improvements, including the multi-year High School Improvement and Enriching Elementary Education Grants. Although the specific programs of the two foundations were quite different, both were dedicated to supporting Arlington’s teachers and students and improving the Arlington Public Schools.
In 2008, AEEF and ASF began to discuss combining operations in order to better serve the community and the Arlington Public Schools. Our first joint effort was to support Arlington’s membership in Primary Source, the premiere social studies professional development and resource organization in Massachusetts. By the end of 2009, merger plans were complete, and AEF was officially founded on January 1, 2010.
AEF had a banner first year of operation in 2010. We made grants totaling $67,420 for programs and projects in the Arlington Public Schools. These include 19 Innovations in Education grants and funds to support the final year of the Enriching Elementary Education Grant. With ArlingtonFY11, we sponsored the Bridge the Gap Campaign which raised over $600,000 to save positions and programs in the face of drastic budget cuts. We also developed new grants programs, added new board members, built a new website, and, with the help of a group of Arlington schoolchildren, created a new logo.
Over the past twenty years, Arlington residents have given over a million dollars to AEEF, ASF, and AEF which we have, in turn, donated to the Arlington Public Schools. Over the next twenty years, AEF looks forward to doing much more.