Support Your PTOs and the MPAEF

Frequently Asked Questions About Supporting Our Public Schools


Why do our public schools need financial support from parents, extended family, neighbors, friends, and local businesses?

The Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD) is community funded. State and federal government funding makes up only 10% of its budget. Local property taxes, parcel taxes and other local sources make up 79% of its revenue. About 11% of the District’s total revenue comes from generous giving by parents and people in the community. That 11% is critical to making our school district the unique district that it is with excellent teachers and programs and smaller class sizes. To learn more about the MPCSD budget, please click here.

How can I provide financial support to our schools?

If you have a child in the Menlo Park City School District, there are two things we ask of you:

  • Join and support the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at your children’s school; and
  • Donate to the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF).

If you are extended family, a neighbor, a friend, or a local business, please donate to the MPAEF which has programs designed for community donors like you.

What is a PTO?

PTO stands for Parent Teacher Organization. Each school in the Menlo Park City School District has its own PTO. PTOs are volunteer organizations where parents and teachers at a school come together to work on programs that benefit the educational experience of the children at that particular school. We welcome all parents and incorporate new ideas each year. Our programs are open and adaptable according to the needs of the school. Come join us and be a part of making every child’s experience at school a great one. To learn more about the PTOs, please visit your child’s school’s PTO website (see links below).

What is the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation?

The Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF) is a parent-led non-profit organization committed to raising funds to support quality education at the four public schools of the Menlo Park City School District: Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, and Hillview. Like our schools, the MPAEF is community-supported by parents, extended family, neighbors, friends, and local businesses. To learn more about MPAEF, please click here.

Why should I give money to the both PTOs and the MPAEF?

Both organizations support our district schools in different, but complementary ways. The MPAEF and the PTOs are the only organizations that can provide private funding directly to our District and our schools. As a community funded school district, the MPCSD relies upon the hard work of these parent volunteers to provide the enriching educational experience that families have come to value.

What does my donation to the PTO support?

Each school’s PTO funds and organizes many programs and activities that are important to its specific school and its community of students, teachers, and parents. These include field trips, assemblies, supplemental instructional and classroom materials, after school programs, school-based community events such as parent education events, science fairs, family potlucks, and communications like the PTO school newsletter and website.

What does my donation to the MPAEF support?

The MPAEF provides direct funding for teachers at our schools. For the 2015-16 school year, the MPAEF presented the district with a grant of $3.6 million. This grant will fund the equivalent of 29 teachers. It supports the District’s ability to hire, retain and develop our teachers. The grant enables our schools to preserve our comprehensive education program of science, the arts, library, technology and other electives.  

What is the “Are You IN?” campaign?

The “Are You IN?” campaign was started in 2011 as a joint fundraising campaign for the MPAEF and the PTOs as a way to better inform our families about our District’s funding need as well as the crucial roles the MPAEF and PTOs play in meeting this need. Ultimately, the “Are You IN?” campaign is about supporting both organizations because that is the best way to support quality education for all children.

Can I make one payment to the PTOs and MPAEF together?

Unfortunately, no. Because each organization is a separate nonprofit with a separate tax ID number, contributions must be made to each PTO and the MPAEF.

Are my contributions tax-deductible?

Yes, your donations to the MPAEF and each school’s PTO are tax-deductible because they are all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Please refer to each organization’s website for their individual tax ID numbers.

Will my employer match my contribution?

Many employers will match your contributions to non-profit organizations, extending the impact of your contribution. Contact your employer’s human resources department to find out if your company participates.