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What is the Santa Paula Education Foundation (SPEF)?

The SPEF is a community organization whose primary purpose is the awarding of scholarships to graduating seniors of the Santa Paula Unified School District.  The SPEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit.


Why should I give to SPEF?

The primary reason to give to the Santa Paula Education Foundation is to assist Santa Paula Unified School District students in realizing their goal of attending a college or university. These students have worked hard for 13 years to obtain the skills necessary to succeed at the university level and as such have applied and been accepted. Your financial assistance will enable students to attend college and pay for necessary supplies and materials. Santa Paula has always been a community that does all it can to support its young people and giving to the Foundation is a tangible way that you can help.



How much should I give to SPEF?

Donations of any amount are always appreciated and will further the work of the Foundation. Previous contributions to the SPEF have ranged from $50 all the way up to $273,000 (gifted by Pauline Cochran).


Who decides how the money ( I give) will be spent?

The donor has the biggest say in all of this.  If a gift to the SPEF is based as a personal memorial then criteria set forth by the donor is the determining factor and Santa Paula High School's Scholarship Committee will choose the student that best fits that criteria. The application is available on the Applications/Scholarships page for you to review. Decisions of who gets scholarships are made by the Scholarship Committee comprised of teachers and counselors at Santa Paula High School.


If a donation is given to the SPEF without criteria it will help grow the endowment which is managed by the Board of Directors whose job is to invest funds and review the endowment's safety and annual performance.  As the endowment grows, the more we will have to award in scholarships.


One must take into consideration that a lasting memorial scholarship must be strong enough to generate dividends that will perpetuate its existence or it will eventually run out of money.  That is why the SPEF recommends a gift of at least $10,000 dollars to create a scholarship in perpetuity.   


How can people support SPEF’s fundraising efforts? 

Since 1983 our endowment has provided a reliable source of funding to graduates from Santa Paula’s Unified School District but the need for additional help far exceeds the amount that is available each year to give.  As the Santa Paula community grows, as it is expected to do, and the number of students attending and graduating from the SPUSD increases, the hope of obtaining a college education, primarily for students from lower socio-economic incomes, becomes increasingly difficult to sustain.  Yet, their stories of accomplishment are inspirational. Every day we are moved by the creativity and innovation we see in our public school classrooms.


We therefore ask that you consider helping the SPEF strengthen its endowment by making a sizable contribution that will create a permanent legacy of a special life that may have begun while growing up and attending the schools of Santa Paula, or as a perpetual memorial to a special person that was able to touch the lives of others.


We recommend that you consult your attorney, tax advisor and financial planner for assistance in making a planned gift. The easiest way to provide a planned gift to support SPEF, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, is to include a bequest in your will or living trust. You can do this by either drafting a new trust or will, by amending your trust, or adding a codicil to an existing will. Through a bequest you can make a substantial gift to SPEF without depleting current assets. You can designate your gift to award scholarships in the arts, academics, athletics or to support educational programs such as the School Farm. You can establish a named endowment fund in your own name or to honor someone of your choosing.  You may consider several planned giving “vehicles” that name the Santa Paula Educational Foundation as the beneficiary.   Some of these would include:


• Gifts of Stocks or Bonds

• Bequest (specified in your Will or Living Trust)

• Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)

• Charitable Lead Trust (CLT)

• Qualified Retirement Plan

• Life Insurance

• Life Estate

• Real Estate


We encourage organizers of Santa Paula High School reunions to consider making the SPEF a focal point in their fundraising.  What better way for a class to remember their ‘good old days’ at S.P. High by making a class contribution that will help a fellow Cardinal realize their college dream.


How is the work of SPEF overseen?   

The Foundation board meets regularly with their investment manager to receive updates regarding the status of the Foundation’s investments and the amount of money that can safely be paid out in scholarships for each year. The normal distribution has been between 5% and 6% of the total invested. Since the founding of the Foundation in 1983 contributions of many different donors has allowed our investment to grow to the point where we can now offer $45,000-$50,000 per year in scholarships. Future donations and growth of the investments will allow us to offer more scholarships.

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