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The History of the Ashland Schools Foundation

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Art in Action

The Ashland Schools Foundation was established in 1989, a year before passage of Measure 5, the statewide ballot measure that reduced Oregon property taxes. By the late 1980's, Ashland School Board members and the superintendent anticipated the drastic effects a statewide revolt against property taxes could have on local schools. Inspired by the Ashland community's heritage of support for public education, they conceived a local remedy to the threat of reduced state funding for K-12 public education.

The Ashland Schools Foundation was not intended to replace tax support, but to supplement government-mandated and publicly funded education. The founders envisioned the Ashland Schools Foundation generating local funds to enhance the quality of public education that Ashland school patrons have demanded throughout the city's history.

In the Ashland Schools Foundationís first year, the organization helped refurbish the high school track and began making small grants to programs designed for at-risk students. $3,000 in grants were awarded that first year. As the positive effects of these grants were felt throughout the district, contributions to the ASF increased, and more grants were awarded.

After passage of Measure 5, donors responded to a 1993 fundraising campaign by contributing more than $50,000 to the Ashland Schools Foundation to help insure the continuation of prized educational and extra-curricular activities throughout the district. These donations offered stopgap funding to keep important programs alive before Ashland voters passed the first three-year Youth Activities Levy in 1994.

In the spring of 2002, ASF ran an "SOS" campaign when the school district was cut over $2 million dollars mid-year due to shortfalls in tax collections by the state. The Ashland community responded with $460,000 in donations to help save programs in the schools that would have been lost forever.  Since that time, the Ashland Community has annual supported ASF with an average of $250,000 in donations per year. 


Due to the changing structure of tax support, and the challenges in the economy, the Ashland Schools Foundationís mission has changed from one of enhancing and enriching quality education in Ashland public schools to one of preserving and maintaining quality education.

Total contributions to the Ashland Schools Foundation since it's inception are over $3,000,000! 

The Ashland Schools Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit public benefit corporation, organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who represent a cross-section of school patrons, and Ashland district taxpayers. The Board provides fiscal guidance and governance for the Ashland Schools Foundation. All decisions regarding expenditures of funds are made solely by the Board with the goal of balancing classroom and district needs with community and donor interests.



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