To hear Kiddo Executive Director Trisha Garlock tell it, while the four thermometer signs that went up around town this week are the familiar sign of her organization's push for its annual fundraising goal, the stakes have never been higher.
The end-of-year push comes on the heels of a $196 parcel tax that voters approved in November to help combat a $2.3 million budget deficit for 2012-2013. The measure prevents cuts to educational programs and retains quality staff, while the Mill Valley School District contiues to rely on Kiddo for additional support.
Kiddo!'s annual campaign funds all of the art, music, dance, drama and poetry programs, as well as some technology initiatives and mini-grants to support innovative teaching in the classroom. This year the organization added physical education to the list.
“Our great local schools are one of the things that make Mill Valley such a special place to live,” Garlock said. “The arts are not only integral to a well-rounded education, but are considered part of the core curriculum in Mill Valley. None of these programs would exist without private contributions.”
This year, a grop of district familes have also offered up a $75,000 bonus if Kiddo can reach a a 75 percent particpation rate by Dec 31. So far, 66 percnet of families have donated, and the organization is hoping 199 more families will contribute by the end of the year.
The suggested donation to Kiddo! is $1200 per student, but any amount is appreciated, and will count toward receiving the bonus.
Kiddo's 2010-2011 campaign met its goal of raising $2.4 million, and the group is looking to raise $2.7 million this year. The thermometer signs traditionally go up around this time of year as the organization makes its final fundraising push.
The group has raised millions through private donations and events like its golf tournament and spring gala, which occur every other year and alternate, as well as from local businesses.
"Increased student enrollment, coupled with decreased property tax revenue and state funding, have made contributions from our local community more important than ever," Garlock said.
The campaign concludes Dec. 31, but the thermometers will stay up through January with a message thanking local residents and businesses for their contributions.
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