Manhattan Beach is one of the first communities in the nation to have established a permanent private funding source for its public schools. Patterned after university endowments, MBEF established its Endowment Fund in 1986, with an initial $10,000, as a permanent fund to enhance and stabilize the long-term growth of the MBEF’s annual gift to the Manhattan Beach Unified School District.
MBEF had long discussed the need for an endowment fund, realizing that while its annual appeal historically reached its goal, virtually all of the money raised in a year was spent the following year, and then the fundraising process would begin again. In June 1992, the Endowment Fund had grown to $100,000. Brad Jones, then President of the MBEF, volunteered to lead the effort to formally establish the Endowment Fund.
These efforts resulted in the adoption of by-laws that formally established the Endowment Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to enhance and stabilize the long-term growth of MBEF’s fundraising by giving individuals and organizations an additional way to support Manhattan Beach’s public schools.
Each year between 1992 and 2005, MBEF made yearly contributions to the Endowment Fund, growing the Endowment to $2,500,000. At this time, MBEF created the MBEF Investment Committee, modeling investment policies on the best performing university endowments. In June 2005, the MBEF Endowment Fund was invested in securities. MBEF’s Investment Committee was comprised of MBEF’s CIO, Treasurer, Endowment Chair, at least two additional Directors, and other appointed persons. Initial members of the Investment Committee were Geoff Bremer, Jeff Thaler, Rich Weiss, Brian Currey, John Oshiro, Randy Dotemoto and Mike Dunitz.
Over the years, fundraising for the Endowment Fund was relatively passive. In 2006, the original Plaza El Segundo Partners (comprised of Continental Development, Comstock-Crosser & Associates, Mar Ventures, Inc.), made a $1,000,000 pledge to the Endowment. In 2008, Jon Chaykowski pedaled from the Atlantic to the Pacific raising over $20,000 for the Endowment. And each year, as specified in MBEF’s by-laws, the Manhattan Wine Auction contributed a minimum of one-third of the event proceeds to the Endowment Fund.
By mid-2010 it was clear that the MBEF Endowment Fund would play a more critical role in the future of MBEF grant funding. Year after year of budget cuts in Sacramento had lowered per-pupil funding in California to under $6,000, putting California 47th out of 50 states in per-pupil funding. Additionally, MBEF has gone from making grants of $81,300 in 1992 to $4.5 million in 2010 – funding dozens of teachers.
In October 2010, the MBEF Endowment Fund became a subsidiary corporation of MBEF with its own set of by-laws and board of directors. From June 2010 through June 2011, the Endowment received contributions and multi-year pledges of $800,000.
In June 2013, the MBEF Endowment Fund passed the $10 million benchmark, which is the point at which the Fund could begin making disbursements to the schools. In Spring 2014 the Endowment Fund made its first contribution of $116,000 to MBEF, MBEF in turn used these funds in their grants for the 2014-2015 school year. The Endowment Fund produced its first-ever Annual Report in March 2014.
As we approach the year 2020, the Endowment Board has set a fundraising goal of $20,000,000. At this level, the Endowment will disburse approximately $1M to our schools each year in perpetuity, regardless of fluctuations in state funding for education.
Manhattan Beach schools have one of the few K-12 public school endowment funds anywhere – and one of the largest, if not the largest. Over time, the Fund will grow to a very substantial size and provide large additions to the annual gift from the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation. This is a fund for the future … the future of our children and all of Manhattan Beach.