Incorporated as a nonprofit in 1984, the Highland Park Education Foundation exists to support quality education in the Highland Park Independent School District, a public school district serving over 6,000 students. The Foundation benefited from the visionary leadership of George Connell, Judy Gibbs, Jack Hammack, Darrell Lafitte, Charles Seay, Don Williams, and the late Walter Spradley as founding members. Today a 30-member Board governs the organization, and an Advisory Board of approximately 25 members provides guidance concerning various Foundation activities.
For the first 10 years, Foundation projects were volunteer driven, and annual distributions were directed to student scholarships with occasional special gifts such as “seed” funding to start the HPHS Alumni Association. In the early 1990s, the Texas State Legislature approved school finance laws mandating that the Highland Park ISD send a significant percentage of its tax revenue to other Texas communities. In 2004-2005, the District sent 70% of its property tax revenue to the state to be distributed to other Texas school districts. This “Robin Hood” legislation increased the reliance of HPISD on private funding and increased the role of the Education Foundation to one of greater significance. No longer could Foundation dollars be used for enhancements to education, but instead were needed to meet the budgetary bottom line.
In mid-1994, with support from the civic group La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, the Foundation hired staff to coordinate development activities, manage daily operations, and serve as a liaison with the District and the community. Two years ago, the Foundation joined hands with the 5-12 PTAs’ Mad for Plaid Campaign to coordinate a district-wide fund drive in support of all levels of education in HPISD. Foundation fundraising efforts have grown steadily with annual gifts in support of education increasing from $17,000 in 1993-94 to over $3,500,000 in 2007-2008.
Copies of current form 990 or of Fraud or Conflict of Interest Statements are available upon written request.
In addition to Mad for Plaid, the Foundation is actively seeking funding to create a permanent endowment to ensure the long term excellence that has been the hallmark of the Highland Park schools. The Foundation gratefully accepts memorials and funds supporting scholarships for both students and teachers at HPISD.
Some of the programs supported by the Education Foundation include:
- Teacher Salary Support District-wide
- Teacher Leader Academy
- Distance Learning
- Resiliency Training
- New Jersey Writing Project in Texas
- Curriculum Alignment and Teacher Training
- Teacher of the Year Awards