Seneca Valley officials introduced a handful of potential new revenue sources for the district last night, including a nonprofit foundation.
At Monday's school board meeting, Linda Andreassi, director of communications, unveiled the Seneca Valley Foundation, a private, tax-exempt nonprofit corporation. The tagline for the foundation is “The Gift of Hope. The Promise of Excellence."
Andreassi said the foundation would seek donations and patrons to help develop capital projects, classroom programs and student scholarships for the district. Memorial and charitable donations also may be made to the foundation.
“It will be dedicated to encouraging excellence and innovation in the Seneca Valley School District,” she said.
She estimated the foundation could generate roughly $100,000 per year for the district. The Cranberry Township Noon Rotary Club already has pledged $5,000 per year to the foundation for the next three years. Superintendent Dr. Tracy Vitale said the corporation also has received contributions from several donors who, for now, wish to remain anonymous.
Although paperwork granting 501(c)3-status to the foundation is pending approval by the federal government, Vitale said the foundation has been assigned a tax identification number.
“The good news is we can take donations starting today,” she said.
Celebrating the Foundation
Seneca Valley is partnering with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to hold a kickoff party for the foundation from 8 to 10 p.m. April 13 at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. Andreassi said the symphony would present a Broadway-themed concert followed by a reception to thank foundation donors.
The ticket cost is $30 per person, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Seneca Valley Foundation. There also will be special ticket package prices for groups of four people or more. Tickets will be available for purchase soon on the district’s website, according to Andreassi.
A board of trustees and officers will oversee the foundation. Vitale said she currently is seeking members of the community to sit on the board.
She added Seneca Valley isn’t the only school district in the area with a separate foundation. The North Allegheny, Butler Area and Mars Area school districts all have nonprofit corporations in place.
“Other districts in the state do have foundations,” Vitale said. “Some of them have not been real successful in raising money. We intend to be very successful because it all comes back to our children and that’s very important to us.”
Vitale has been making plans for the foundation since she was hired in September as superintendent, Andreassi said. Vitale herself noted that, as an educator, she never envisioned herself asking area businesses for donations—until now.
“I am very pleased to say I am shameless when it comes to knocking on corporate doors when it means more money for our kids,” she said.
Other Revenue Sources
School board members also approved plans for the district to work with Colorado-based The School Newsletter Company to create a monthly e-newsletter at no cost to the district.
Andreassi said she would provide the content for newsletter, while the company would find advertisers and design the newsletter’s layout.
She estimated the e-newsletter—which would run 11 months out of the year with no letter in July—would generate $6,000 per month in revenue. The proceeds would be evenly split between the district and The School Newsletter Company, meaning the district would receive about $3,000 per month—or $33,000 per year.
The district also is looking to partner with an outside advertising or marketing company to create ads that would run on Seneca Valley’s website. Andreassi said price points for the ads would depend on their location on the district’s home page. The outside agency would seek out advertisers, design the ad layout and handle billing and invoice, she said. The district also would split proceeds from the ad sales with the chosen company.
She estimated web ad sales could put an extra $25,000 per year in the district's coffers.
“We’re hoping that’s a conservative number and that it will in fact be higher,” she said.
Seneca Valley also plans to sell ad space on the school calendar, which is sent to 8,000 homes within the district as well as to businesses, churches and real estate offices in the area. At a monthly cost of $1,000 per ad from September through June and $500 in July and August, calendar ad sales could generate $17,000 annually for the district, Andreassi said.
She added there would be only one advertisement—about the size of a business card—for each month. Ads also would run on five content pages near the back of the calendar.
“They will be small enough and subtle enough that they won’t be disruptive to the calendar,” she said.
What the School Board Says
Plans for the foundation and the ad sales got a warm reception from school board members.
“I think it's brilliant, and I applaud all the effort that went into this,” said school board member Eric DiTullio.
School board member the Rev. Reid Moon was particularly impressed by the foundation’s association with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
“It rocks my world to know we have Pittsburgh Symphony on board,” he said.