At the October 8 MUSD school board meeting, the Milpitas Community Educational Endowment (MCEE) presented a check of $5,000 to students and Administrative leaders from Thomas Russell Middle School.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors for MCEE, we’re presenting our annual MUSD grant to Russell Middle School of $5,000 to their student leadership program,” said MCEE founder Robert Jung, as the check was being presented.

This $5,000 grant has special meaning, as it marks the very first grant that MCEE has distributed since its inception in 2009.

A decade ago, Jung formed MCEE out of a desire to do something meaningful to support schools across Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD). He set a goal of raising about $10,000 a year over the course of 10 years, which would go toward building a $100,000 endowment.

Having reached the big $100,000 goal last year, Jung and his team put out a call for grant applications in July of this year for projects across MUSD school sites. The idea is that MCEE will award an annual MUSD grant, which will be given out early in the school year.

This summer, each project applicant filled out a form on the MCEE website. The school district then selected the top few candidates. And MCEE’s committee scored each of the applications based on the answers to the questions.

“In June of each year, we have to make a determination on whether or not we can do the grant. We have to look at the performance of underlying investments and if it did what it was supposed to do…and we know that the money is there…” said Jung.

The plan is that MCEE will announce that they’re receiving grant applications on July 1 for the coming school year. That way, the funds can be put to use right away and hopefully have an impact throughout the entire school year.

“The goal for the grant is that it’s something the district benefits from,” said Jung. “We don’t want to compete with PTAs or PTOs that offer teacher grants. We want to target programs that have a district-wide impact.”

With the $100,000 in endowment funds, Jung and the MCEE team hope to get a 5% return on their investments, to be able to continue offering a $5,000 grant per each school year.

MCEE has already gotten to work on attempting to double the endowment to $200,000 in the next 5 years. This means that they’ll need to raise $20,000 a year for 5 years, until they match the existing $100,000 and hit their goal. They’ve already raised $10,000 over the last several months, and have until June of 2020 to raise another $10,000. If they reach their next milestone, this means that the endowment will be $200,000 by the year 2024.

The $5,000 grant for Russell will go toward their Student Leadership program, and help to pay for transportation to their annual leadership field trip, as well as a new portable microphone and speaker system for their rallies and school activities. The rest of the funds will go toward equipment to help enhance their morning announcements, filmmaking capacity, and advertising for school events.

Anyone who wishes to learn more about MCEE or possibly contribute toward the endowment can go to:

MCEEfoundation.org

 

Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.

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