Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions. If you don’t find the answer to your question here, please feel free to contact us directly.
How is ACE different from the Andover Fund for Education (AFE), PTOs, and other groups in town that raise money for schools?
While worthy groups like AFE and school PTOs fund grants that are typically classroom and school specific, ACE will fund initiatives that are system-wide and multi-year. Unlike other groups in town, we work directly with the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent to understand how we can best support key priorities of the school system.
Do other towns have private foundations that raise money for public schools?
Yes. Many towns in Massachusetts have had similar foundations operating successfully for years, in some cases raising hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for their school systems. Examples include Newton, Belmont, Brookline, Lexington, Wayland, Winchester, Wellesley, Needham, and Arlington.
What are your funding priorities?
The exact features of individual ACE-sponsored programs are determined case by case, year by year. This flexibility allows our schools to respond with vision, creativity, and skill to shifting needs and challenges as they arise. ACE will fund ideas generated from within and from outside the school system, and will place a priority on programs that are rigorous, imaginative, and reach the largest possible number of students. Our intent is to provide the “educational venture capital” necessary to pilot programs that will raise standards across the school system.
What is the role of ACE in the Andover Public Schools budget?
ACE’s privately funded initiatives are completely distinct from the annual school operating budget, and will not replace money from local, state, and federal sources. ACE will, however, provide the school system with access to private and foundation funding in order to support sustainable programming that cannot be covered by the operating budget.
What is the role of the grants coordinator?
During its first year (2005-06), ACE raised the funds necessary for the school department to hire, for the first time, a designated grants coordinator. The grants coordinator is an employee of the school department, and works to bring state, federal, and private grant support to the Andover Public Schools. In the past, this responsibility has been left to the Assistant Superintendent and individual school principals, who simply do not have the time or resources to aggressively pursue outside funding opportunities to the fullest extent possible. Other towns in Massachusetts that have grants coordinators have been able to raise millions of dollars to supplement their school budgets.
How will ACE decide what programs to fund?
ACE works directly with the school department, including the grants coordinator, to determine and prioritize funding opportunities. The Board of Directors by majority vote will allocate funds to school programs.
How will ACE ensure that all schools receive an equitable level of funding?
Our goal is to have at least one ACE-backed program operating across the elementary, middle and high school levels at all times. In selecting these programs, priority will be given to those that directly reach the largest possible number of students. In some years, a new program will be piloted at one specific school; if successful, it will then be spread in future years to all other schools at that level.
Why should I donate to ACE? Wouldn’t it be better to give directly to my own child’s school through its PTO?
PTOs play a very important role in building a community of support at each individual school. We feel everyone should support PTO efforts, and in fact virtually all of our ACE board members have a long history of active PTO involvement! However, ACE’s mission is entirely different—and more global. It is to support major, curricula-enhancing initiatives across every level of the Andover school system. Donating to ACE should be regarded as an investment that ensures that standards of excellence will continually be set in all of our schools for years to come.
What is an example of the kind of program that ACE supports?
Please see our ACE Grants page for more information on ACE-supported initiatives.
What are ACE's operating costs?
ACE is an all-volunteer organization and strives to keep operating costs at a minimum. On average, more than 90% of funds raised are directed into ACE grants.
Is ACE a non profit foundation?
Yes. ACE is an independent, fully volunteer non profit organization. We operate as a Donor Advised Fund of the Essex County Community Foundation (MA), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations to ACE are fully tax deductible.
When does ACE's fiscal year end?
ACE's fiscal year ends on June 30.