Q & A
What is the Novi Educational Foundation?
The Novi Educational Foundation (NEF) is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our Board of Trustees is comprised entirely of volunteers who are committed to encouraging philanthropic support of our schools. The NEF works in cooperation with the Novi Community School District administration and staff. While the NEF does not have a direct accountability connection to the Board of Education, we do work to ensure that the activities supported are aligned with the District.
Why was the Novi Educational Foundation created?
The Novi Educational Foundation (NEF) was formed in 1986 to help fund opportunities that will develop each student's potential combined with a world class education. The NEF is a student-focused organization dedicated to supporting your child's enrichment activities and educational programs using funds beyond the districts capabilities.
Furthermore, the Fuerst Scholarship was established in 1996 thanks to a generous $350,000 donation from the estate of Ruby Fuerst to the Novi Community Schools. The Novi Board of Education, showing its support for the NEF, entrusted the management of the Fuerst funds to the NEF. Any Novi Community School District resident, regardless of age, pursuing post high school education in an undergrad program at an accredited community college, college, university, technical, or vocational school is eligible for a Fuerst scholarship. The decision for scholarship will be based on need, application information, and interview. The application and aid form may be picked up at the Novi High School Counseling Office or the Educational Services Building.
What is the mission of the Foundation?
The Novi Educational Foundation (NEF) enriches the educational experience of each student by supporting opportunities that require financial resources beyond the district’s contribution.
The NEF is passionate about developing students’ social, emotional and mental health skills. These skills include leadership, interpersonal communication, relationship building, conflict management, critical thinking, and self-confidence.
We execute this mission by providing funds for district-wide programs, grants, and scholarships. These funds are obtained through fundraising, individual contributions, sponsorships, and endowments supporting our teachers, students, and their families.
How is the Novi Educational Foundation organized?
The NEF is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with its own mission, goals and by-laws that is organized and managed by a Board of Trustees. The trustees are responsible for the organization of fund raising projects and other activities that benefit Novi Community School District.
How does the Novi Educational Foundation raise money?
The NEF solicits funds throughout the year from corporations and individuals who recognize that excellence in public education is essential to the social and economic fabric of our community. The NEF raises money through appeals for charitable contributions from individuals, community groups and businesses as well as through various fundraising events and projects. You can find more details under the Paths To Help tab.
Corporate: we will partner with public and private organizations that can help us to establish credibility and build sustainability. Additionally, we will seek to double individual donations through corporate matching programs.
Public + Private Foundations: we will work with the district and independently to secure funding from state grants and private foundations where possible. If the opportunity arises, we will seek federal funding.
Individual: We will work with individuals through many channels including:
Events: we will choose fundraising events that are innovative and have a unique appeal to the community.
Annual Appeal + Targeted Campaigns: we will implement an annual appeal in conjunction with smaller targeted campaigns.
Estate/Legacy Gifts: we will pursue this channel when and where it is appropriate.
Endowment + Naming Opportunities: we will solicit endowment and naming opportunities for grants and/or awards that meet our overall objectives.
How does the Novi Educational Foundation identify district projects for funding?
The NEF works with representation in every building and the administration to identify needs. Although project ideas can come from any source, funding is awarded only after review of a proposal that meets the funding criteria set by the NEF Board of Trustees using available resources and budgets.
What is the Novi Educational Foundation's process for funding grants for the schools?
The NEF grant application window is open twice a year for Novi staff members, PTO groups and others supporting the Novi Community School District students and staff. The NEF Board of Trustees - Grant Committee then reviews these submitted applications along with NCSD administration. Funding decisions are based on alignment with the NEF’s mission, available funds and working to spread equity across schools within the district based on the submissions.
Trustees review applications based on the following criteria:
Grants should have as broad an impact upon the educational needs of as many students as possible.
Proposals should have the approval of both the school principal.
Grants should support programs not currently funded via the normal district budget process.
All proposals should contribute to the NEF’s overall mission.
In these economic times, why should I contribute to the Novi Educational Foundation?
Donors to the NEF are investing in two of our community's most important resources--our children and our public schools. Your gifts support enhancements that are not included in the annual school budget.
All donations and in-kind contributions are tax deductible.
Don’t my taxes pay for education? Why should I do more?
Your taxes do pay for the education of our students. The Novi Community School District uses its’ state aid to fund teacher and staff salaries - 85% of the district revenue goes to support our staff. With the other 15% of state aid the district buys school supplies, plows the snow, buys textbooks, and so on. The list is long and the needs are great. Without the NEF, PTOs and other booster clubs many programs and school enhancements would be left unrealized. It is only through your generosity that these programs continue and allow us to bring programs to the district beyond their financial capabilities. You can find more details on the programs the NEF supports under the What We Support tab.
How does Novi and the District’s education rank in the state?
Money Magazine named Novi in 2018 as one of only two cities in Michigan from their 50 Best Places to Live in America. Our schools made a significant contribution on these rankings. Niche.com ranked the Novi Community School District #6 of 548 school districts in the state. Why? Because of our A+ grade for our schools. Unfortunately, Michigan schools overall rank 33rd in the country according to Business Insider. A recent study determined the amount necessary to educate the average child to proficiency is $2,000 more than what our state provides.
How does the Novi District rate in education funding from the state?
Our school district’s per-pupil funding from the state is still below what it was in 2007-08 school year. Education is an investment in our children and in our community. Funding in 2007 was at $8,925 per student. The per pupil funding dropped soon after, and 10 years later in 2018 it has only reached $8,813 per student. These are actual dollars and do not include any inflation effect.
Annual donations to the NEF enable us to fund the excellence in education and personal growth we all desire – above and beyond what the state provides.
How are education foundations different from PTOs, booster groups or other organizations that support schools?
While PTOs raise money for specific schools and booster groups are focused on a certain segment (athletic, band, orchestra, etc.), education foundations allow for the funding of all public schools in the district, thereby expanding the pool of resources available to teachers, administrators and other community leaders.
All types of organizations are critical for school systems to thrive. Collaboration and transparency with other parent and community groups are aligned with the core values of NEF. Many members of Novi PTOs and parents groups serve as volunteers for both organizations which enables ongoing and open dialogue and opportunities for partnership around the funding of larger projects.
Who is involved in the NEF?
The NEF volunteer base includes residents, parents, grandparents, business owners, teachers, retired professionals, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and students! To learn more about our leadership team, click on our Board of Directors under the About Us tab.