Scroll down for FAQ's, Central Fundraising History & Mission


The PTA's goal is to raise the funds needed to support the additional staff the district funds in Malibu, while a centralized Malibu fundraising organization in develops.  Funds raised in Malibu now stay in Malibu.

Some context and background

Malibu's Central Fundraising Mission & SMMUSD Central Fundraising History

MISSION:  Our mission is to engage the community to invest in Malibu Public Schools and create an educational experience for our children beyond what is possible with public funds alone.


LEAD, a Malibu Education Fund, was enabled in 2018 and established in August, 2019.  

Malibu School Leadership agreed to create a Malibu Education Fund, separate from the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Fund, or SMMEF (now branded SMEF, Santa Monica Education Fund) - and establish LEAD for two reasons:

  1. More Malibu Community Engagement
    1. Santa Monica was providing the majority of funding for the staff and programs at Malibu Schools through SMEFF for the past few years and that was not sustainable.   
    2. For the roughly ~$500k of staff and programs provided to Malibu Schools, Malibu parents were contributing ~$85k towards that cost. 
    3. With Malibu Funds now staying in Malibu, we believe that we can rally our community to embrace this effort and invest in our schools.
  2. More Malibu control over Malibu Staffing and Programming.
    1. Do we want Planet Bravo or a science teacher?  Do we want ballroom dance or more music programs?  These are the things we can decide as a parent body, once we can prove our ability to raise the funds on a consistent basis.
    2. If Malibu is raising the funds, Malibu can determine how the funds are allocated in Malibu.

We, as a Malibu Community, ultimately aim to raise an incremental $500k (beyond what is currently raised by/for the PTA Budgets for teacher supplies, field trips, school community buildings and enrichment programs) across all the schools to fund the teacher’s aides and curricular programs such as technology, dance and music and individual school enrichment to which our students have become accustomed.  

Webster’s (current) full annual share is $161,271.38.  This could change as we adjust what we, as a community, want to allocate our funds towards supporting.  This fundraising effort will also take time - and while the school district is supporting our efforts to scale, we believe in the strength of our community.  

The key to our success will be parent and community participation.  The more we can demonstrate the involvement and support of the community, the more we can get other entities to support our schools (business, government and other nonprofits).

Need a little inspiration that WE can make this happen in Malibu?  Read about the history of SMEF.

THE HISTORY (Compliments of our friends at SMEF):

Established in 1982 in response to devastating federal and state education budget cuts, the Santa Monica Education Foundation was organized by a dedicated group of parents, community leaders, and local business owners to enhance and supplement the curriculum of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. 

The 1980s and 1990s 

During the first 15 years of its existence, the Ed Foundation’s fundraising grew from $25,000 to $100,000 annually. It did this mostly through a raffle and one event. Recognizing the importance of annual sustainable funds in order to support programs District-wide, the Education Foundation created an Academic Endowment in 1998. The Bells and Books of Knowledge campaign raised $1 million and donors were recognized through sculptures on the Third Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica, which are still there today. 

The 2000s 

In 2002, an active and passionate group of parents and arts supporters approached the Ed Foundation to conduct an Arts Endowment fundraising campaign, which, over three years, raised $2 million. This was a high-profile campaign with a strong Steering Committee and a stellar Honorary Committee. In addition to the Arts Endowment campaign, the Ed Foundation was raising about $250,000 annually at that time. 

From 2006 to 2010, the Ed Foundation’s fundraising activities included annual appeals, benefit concerts and corporate partnership events. These fundraising efforts supported vital programs that impact students district-wide. During this time, the Ed Foundation focused on strengthening its brand and developing a strategic vision. 

2010: Save Our Schools Campaign 

In May 2010, in response to the State budget crisis, the SMMUSD Board of Education voted to cut key personnel and programs and said that the only way those programs could be restored was through a district-wide emergency fundraising campaign. As a result, the Ed Foundation led a Save Our Schools (SOS) campaign which raised nearly $1.6 million in 60 days! The collaboration was extraordinary and, for the first time ever, parents leveraged their contacts and resources to ensure programming for all schools. SOS was stunning and it exemplified what we are able to accomplish when we work together for a common goal. 

2011: A New Board Policy - Centralized Fundraising 

In November 2011, the Board of Education, faced with glaring inequities of programming in our District and the prospect of additional cuts to programming, voted to change the Board Policy 3290 Gift Policy to create a centralized fundraising model for the district. In the new model, PTAs and Booster Clubs at each school can fundraise for equipment, materials and student experiences like field trips and assemblies. Funds for additional personnel are raised through district-wide fundraising by the Ed Foundation. The Board of Education authorized the Superintendent to create a Superintendent’s Advisory Committee (SAC) to work out the implementation issues related to a centralized fundraising model. This group still meets quarterly to review programs that are funded by the Ed Foundation. 

The Ed Foundation fundraising effort for district-wide programming began in 2012. 

2014 - Present: 

Equitable Programs for all Students District-wide Ed Foundation-funded programs were first implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. Today, your donations to the Ed Foundation, along with endowments, fund the following programs: 

  • Arts education for all elementary students 
  • 87 instructional assistants (Webster has ??)
  • Ballroom dance for all 5th graders 
  • $750,000 in stretch grants to be used for innovative staff and programs at each school (Webster currently uses our stretch grant for Planet Bravo)
  • Recorders and books for all 3rd graders 
  • Dance classes, theater programs, and visual arts grants at middle and high schools 
  • Two music classes at Olympic High School 
  • Semi-private music lessons and instruments for qualifying students 
  • Additional funding for school libraries through the American Book Drive 

Please visit the Impact section of the SMEF Site to see stories, testimonials, and videos that highlight the incredible impact of Ed Foundation-funded programs has had on all students in the district. 

2018: Santa Monica Education Foundation 

On June 28, 2018, the School Board approved a revision to Board Policy 3290 that changed the structure of fundraising in our district. It designated the Ed Foundation to raise funds for district-approved programs in Santa Monica schools and authorized a separate Malibu-based nonprofit (TBD) to raise funds for the same programs in Malibu schools. 

With the creation of a Malibu Education Foundation, LEAD, there is new focus on fundraising solely for programs in Malibu, and SMMEF has rebranded as SMEF to do the same for Santa Monica.

Donations to a central fundraising organization like LEAD will enable the continued funding of outstanding programs – elementary arts, instructional assistants, ballroom dance and stretch grants – but now, only in our Malibu schools.    

As LEAD establishes itself, the school PTA’s are stepping in to overachieve our fundraising goals to enable us to provide a significant donation to support the creation of something great for education in Malibu.

The district maintains its dedication to equitable, excellent programs at every school in the district. We all believe this change will lead to even stronger support for our schools in both Santa Monica and Malibu. 


Mission Statement established for Malibu's centralized fundraising organization


  • We believe that Malibu Schools have the capacity to become the best public schools in the country, leading in educational innovation, socio-emotional focus and  child-centered practices.


  • Our Mission is to engage the community to invest in Malibu Schools and create an educational experience for our children beyond what is possible with public funding.


  • The organization’s volunteers, in partnership with parents, schools, PTA’s and the greater community, will ensure that every student in Malibu Public Schools experiences an enriched and fulfilling education.  We strive to ensure every student is prepared for success in college, the workforce or a self-directed future after high school.


  1. EDUCATION:  We believe in a strong, well-funded public school system is fundamental to building a prosperous and productive society.
  2. PARTNERSHIPS:  Healthy and mindful partnerships with parents, the school district, Malibu City, PTAs, boosters, principals, teachers, students businesses and the extended community are critical to our mission.
  3. TRANSPARENCY:  Full transparency in our operations, from financials to fundraising, is the foundation to building trust with our community.
  4. HONESTY:  The board is committed to being honest in our fundraising efforts, our communications with our partners and with each other with the goal of building a sustainable organization beyond reproach.
  5. EQUITY:  We are dedicated to the founding ideals of equality as we strive to provide an enriched education to ALL Malibu Public School students.
  6. EFFICIENCY:  We are dedicated to running the most efficient fundraising organization, minimizing overhead costs while ensuring the longevity of this foundation to benefit Malibu students well into the future.
  7. COMMUNITY:  We  seek the support, input and guidance of the broader community, welcoming all donations of money, ideas and time – large, small and in-kind – recognizing that community involvement sends a powerful message of caring about the growth and future of all children in Malibu Schools.
  8. INNOVATION:  We are committed to innovation in addressing the gap in funding for our schools and in facilitating the District’s innovation in teaching. 

If you are interested in joining the central fundraising team, please e-mail for more information.

Site Content


FQA’s About Webster PTA’s Effort to Help Bridge the Central Fundraising Gap 

If you don’t see your question here, please send it to - so we can share it, along with a response, with other parents who may have the same question!

Is LEAD (Leading Educational Advancement and Development) Malibu’s Central Fundraising Organization? LEAD was established this past year as a dba (doing business as) under MHS’s Shark Fund for that purpose, but is still in its infancy and not yet prepared to fundraise.  The PTA's are stepping in to help raise the funds necessary to ensure our programs remain.  That said, the mission remains aligned – to engage the community to invest in Malibu Schools and create an educational experience for our children beyond what is possible with public funding.

How do I know my donation will go to supporting incremental Webster Staff?  The intent of a central education fundraising organization is to raise funds to improve all Malibu schools.  It’s important to remember, that while we each have an amount that is spent within each school, all Malibu Schools are in this together and we will help each other meet our collective goal of $500k.  That said, we will ensure we are tracking and reporting the contributions of each school and will work together to align each school’s contributions to their costs.

I already donated, do I need to donate again?  At the beginning of the year, the Webster PTA requested a $700 donation to the PTA and supported an $800 donation to LEAD. LEAD received $6,230 in donations from Webster. If you made both donations, thank you!  If you made one of the donations, please consider making the other.  With the current state of our central fundraising organization, both will go to the Webster Whale Fund and we will ensure our planned PTA activities are funded for this year while also ensuring we can make the necessary donation to the district for the additional Staff & Staff led programs for next year on behalf of Webster. 

I have a 5th Grader, why should I donate if the staff donation is to fund next year?  Webster's teachers and staff have guided your child successfully to transition to Middle School. Leave your school as well-endowed for the next families as it has provided for yours. The graduating middle school families are making contributions to ensure your child's best experience at Middle School. Please consider this kindness.  Also, keep in mind that once we establish a strong central fundraising entity – it will raise funds for the coming year, remember that the mandate of central fundraising is to raise funds for all schools. 

Where can I go with my questions?  Please visit the PTA's website ( for more complete answers to your questions, or to submit your question. If you need further information, please send us an email (, or as you know many of us, just ask. We will be adding to the FAQ list on the website as questions come in.

What if we don’t hit our goal of $161k for Webster, or $500k for Malibu?  The school district, recognizing that Malibu is coming from donating just 17% of the $500k spent on additional staff in Malibu, wants to see participation and an concerted effort to raise the funds. The district shares our goals for creating the best schools in Malibu (and Santa Monica) and will not allow us to suffer if we demonstrate the effort – which the Webster PTA is intending to do.

Is Malibu still planning to become its own school district, and how does this all fit in? Yes, we are, and this is foundational to that effort.  AMPS (Advocates for Malibu Public Schools) is still very active in driving forward the separation, and the Malibu City is involved. Once Malibu’s central education fundraising organization is firmly established, it will support Malibu Schools -whether they are part of SMMUSD or separated. That said, we need to take care of our schools today and work together towards the future – whatever it may bring.

Is this the only year we need to do this?  This is the first year, and we hope to establish a plan to stand up a central education fundraising organization to bear the burden of fundraising. E-Mail if you’d like to be involved in that effort, we need parent participation to make this work.