Frequently Asked Questions

What is the BMEF?

What is the BMEF?
Incorporated in 1995, the BMEF is a non-profit, charitable organization that functions independently from, but works in cooperation with, the Briarcliff Manor School District. Through donations from you, we fund cutting-edge technology, innovative programs, and curriculum that are beyond the scope of public school funding. Collectively, these resources give our students an advantage in an increasingly competitive and global world.
Would it make a difference if the BMEF didn't exist?
Yes, a significant difference! Some of the District’s most popular and highly regarded programs, such as the electronic music lab, the student-directed learning centers in the middle school and high school, alternative seating options throughout Todd School, and the outdoor classroom at the middle school, would not exist without the BMEF. We expect our school district to be a leader and our children to achieve educational excellence above the average. In these challenging financial times, this isn’t accomplished through public school funding alone. The BMEF is a vital instrument of support.
How can I justify donating money to the BMEF since I already pay taxes?
Even our substantial school taxes cannot support ALL of the innovative programs, technology, and curriculum enhancements that our residents value. Most of the school budget goes toward fixed costs of personnel, facility, and operations, with a small percentage left for educational materials, technology, programs, and equipment. As costs rise, it is more difficult to include these important educational elements in the school budget. The BMEF funds resources the school district cannot afford. Your donations are crucial to continue our commitment to enhance your Briarcliff student’s education.
Do other public schools have foundations?
Yes! Most high-performing districts like ours do have foundations that support their school district. Some local districts with foundations include Armonk, Bedford, Bronxville, Chappaqua, Dobbs Ferry, Harrison, Irvington, Katonah, Pelham, and Pocantico.

BMEF Grants

How many grants have been awarded?

Since our founding in 1995 we have granted $1.1 million through the 2018-2019 school year, we have granted $1.1 million through our grants process, large-scale initiatives, and teachers institute professional development grants.  These grants have touched students in all grades and reach across all 3 schools in our district.

Who submits grant requests to the BMEF?

Most grant proposals come from our teachers and administrators. However, we also welcome requests from students and community members for resources that support the school district.

What grants have been funded by the BMEF?

The BMEF has funded grants in every academic area, including physical education and the performing arts; they are found in almost every classroom throughout our district. Talk to your children about their educational experiences and you will hear enthusiastic descriptions of inventive programs funded by the BMEF. We fund programs, equipment, technology, and experiences directly connected to curriculum that will enhance our children’s education. For a more detailed description and pictures of our grants in action, please click here. Through the Teacher’s Institute, the professional development arm of the Foundation, we also fund cutting-edge professional development opportunities that spark teacher innovation, click here to learn more.

Who decides how the money is spent?

We have a board comprised of community volunteers. The Superintendent of Schools and administrators offer input and insight to the grants committee. That feedback, along with detailed research and rigorous evaluation of each grant, is presented to the full Board for a vote.  As representatives of our community and our donors, the BMEF Board members take their responsibilities very seriously.  Our careful, thoughtful, and thorough consideration ensures that each grant is consistent with the BMEF mission and the goals of the school district.

Are there restrictions on what the BMEF may fund?

Yes. The BMEF may not pay directly for operating costs of the District, including faculty salaries or stipends.  Technically, funded grants are gifts to the District, which must be formally accepted by the Board of Education.

Supporting the BMEF

What amount do most people give?

We have received individual donations from $10 to $10,000.  Every donation is meaningful and put to good use.

My company has a matching gifts program. Will you accept matching funds?

Yes, the BMEF is happy to accept matching funds from employers. Please indicate on your donation form if your company has such a program. 

Can I make a donation designated for a specific teacher, grade, department or program?

No. All donations to the BMEF go into a general account for future grant allocation. Donations made in one year will be used for grants awarded and implemented in the following year(s). 

Are donations to BMEF tax-deductible?

Yes. BMEF is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax-deductible as permitted by law. 

How can I become involved with the BMEF?

There are many ways to become involved.  You can attend one of our great events, such as the winter wine tasting or the Spring Event.  Check out our events page for more information.  If you are interested in becoming part of the board, please contact our board president here.  New board members are usually invited to join in June for the following school year.  

Become a Volunteer and Join The Board