We know that everyone has a vested interest in the education of our students and your questions are important to us. Listed below are some of the more frequently asked questions that we have been asked.
Q: HOW LONG HAS THE FOUNDATION BEEN IN EXISTENCE?
The foundation was formed in 1997.
Q: WHY HAVEN’T I HEARD OF DCEF BEFORE?
Even though DeSoto County Education Foundation has existed since 1997, it hasn’t been until the last few years that we have taken on a public awareness campaign. At this time, the foundation has ended our scope and projects of the organization. This included launching annual giving campaigns, updating our marketing materials, holding DCEF events and hiring a part-time executive director in January 2013. The organization now has the capacity to run effective fundraising campaigns, provide more dollars to schools and grow community support.
Q: IS THE DCEF JUST A PART OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF DESOTO COUNTY?
No, DCEF is an independent non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. However, the DCEF does have a close and engaged working relationship with the schools, District administration, and the teaching faculty. The School Superintendent, or a representative, attends the quarterly meetings and provides a quarterly report on the activities of the schools. The Superintendent does not have voting privileges on the foundation.
Q: WHAT DOES THE FOUNDATION DO?
The DeSoto County Education Foundation, Inc. (DCEF) partners with the School District of DeSoto County to strengthen our schools, and works to ensure our children are solid learners with the knowledge and skills to become productive citizens.
DCEF was founded with a mission to advance student opportunities and support educational programs that enhance, enrich and promote student learning and achievement. We solicit and provide direct financial support from individuals, corporations and foundations to DeSoto County public school students and classrooms.
Q: HOW DO THE INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS BENEFIT?
The DCEF resources transfer to the individual schools either through mini-grants awarded to teachers, the BackPack food program or donor directed donations. In addition, students enrolled at the high school benefit from donor sponsored scholarships that are awarded each spring. Teachers and support staff who are selected at each school, are recognized and rewarded at the annual “Surrounded by Stars” event.
Q: WHY SHOULD I SUPPORT THE EDUCATION FOUNDATION?
The directors of the education foundation believe that providing a quality public education for our students is fundamental to the welfare of our community. Supporting the foundation provides you the mechanism for you to give a tax-deductible contribution to help build bright and successful futures for all students. Our directors strategically direct the investment of your donation ensuring these funds are well-managed and are spent to support programming that compliments the school district’s initiatives and programs.
When you invest in DCEF, part of your donation may be directed toward the Determined to Make a Difference Mini-Grants that help creative teachers inspire their students, offers students resources that might otherwise go unfunded and provides learning tools that keep students motivated. In addition, part of your funds make be used to match previous donations and fund the BackPack for Kids program. This program is a partnership with All Faiths Food Bank and Mosaic and sends more than 400 backpacks of non-perishable food home with children for the weekend who otherwise may not have sufficient nourishment.
Q: DO YOU TRACK YOUR IMPACT ON STUDENTS?
Yes. We want to make sure that your donation is being spent wisely and we communicate with students, teachers, school level administrators and district personnel who have been the recipients of our grants, district initiatives and donor directed funds to identify the impact on students. Our mini-grants are awarded with the understanding we are to receive mid-year and end of year end evaluations.
During the 2013-14 school year, our Determined to Make a Difference mini-grant program served 3,079 students of which 1,572 were identified as low performing. $ 34,670.04 was awarded to teachers for projects that ranged from classroom library books to software that allowed students to dissect frogs via the computer. ( This amount reflects $17,335.02 that was allotted to the foundation by the 2014 Legislature, and a dollar to dollar match that was met by individuals and corporations. These donations are required for DCEF to be awarded funds from the legislative process.) 603 of these students demonstrated measurable gains as evidenced by a standardized reading skills test and 676 of these students demonstrated improvements in overall school grades.
Q: WHAT TYPE OF EVENTS DOES DCEF SUPPORT?
The DeSoto County Education Foundation, Inc. (DCEF) partners with the School District of DeSoto County to strengthen our schools, and works to ensure our children are solid learners with the knowledge and skills to become productive citizens. Each year the Foundation and its Board holds a variety of events to support the nearly 5,000 students attending DeSoto County Schools.
Q: IS THE MONEY I GIVE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
Yes. All monetary contributions are tax deductible when given as a donation and no services are exchanged. The DeSoto County Education Foundation is a 501(c )(3) non-profit corporation. We are registered with the Department of Commerce / State of Florida.
Q: HOW DO I DONATE TO THE DESOTO COUNTY EDUCATION FOUNDATION?
You can simply write a check made payable to the DeSoto County Education Foundation and mail to us at, P.O. Drawer 2000, Arcadia, Florida 34265
You can donate on line and use your credit card. Simply use the PayPal button at the right side of the page.
If you are a DeSoto County School District employee, you can set up monthly payments from your paychecks.
If you represent a business, we often have events and activities which need sponsorships, in-kind gifts and services. For opportunities contact the Executive Director, Martha Jo Markey at Director@DeSotoEducationFoundation.com or 863-303-1393.
Q: DON’T I PAY ENOUGH TAXES FOR PUBIC EDUCATION? WHY DO I NEED TO PAY MORE MONEY TO A DISTRICT WIDE FOUNDATION?
The Foundation is set to provide for programs that our tax dollars do not pay for. Private dollars allow for community members who care about investing in public education a means to support schools, students and classrooms. Our funding goes for items that inspire and help connect students to enriched learning opportunities.
Q: Is the foundation required to file a tax return?
Yes, DCEF files a tax return each year. In an effort to remain transparent with the community that we serve and our donors, the most recent Audit (7/2014 – 6/2015) is included: DeSoto Ed Foundation 6-30-15