Category Archives: Fundraising

Local Funding Makes all the Difference

You may already know that California state funding for public schools is poor. But you may be surprised to learn that our state ranks 45th in the nation in state funding per pupil, and provides $3,500 less per student than the national average.  

The good news is: we as a community can come together to make up the state’s shortfall. Our school district depends on BCE funds to help pay for credentialed curriculum specialists in math, science, music, art, technology, PE, and library resources, and fund robust professional development for our teachers just to name a few  

In short, your tax-deductible BCE donation is critically important to your child’s quality education in Burlingame.

We only have a few days left to raise the final $360,000 of our $2 million goal to both sustain our existing programs and hire a Director of Innovation to oversee these incredible STEAM resources our grant helps fund.

We are grateful for every donation we receive. Every dollar makes a difference. If you haven’t yet made a donation, please do so before the last day of school to help us reach our fundraising goal for the next school year.

And if you’ve already  donated to this year’s campaign, I thank you deeply for your partnership in helping our kids…together. 


Help us Reach our $2 Million Fundraising Goal

We have only a few weeks left to raise the final $550,000 of our $2 million goal to both sustain our existing programs and hire a new Director of Innovation. 

This new district-wide resource would:

  • Drive digital literacy and creative use of technology in our classrooms
  • Ensure close alignment with tech standards
  • Recruit and onboard new, highly-skilled teachers
  • Foster private/public partnerships
  • Establish design-focused instruction and STEAM best practices across our district leveraging existing investments and strategic new ones
  • Lead a new Innovation Institute that will equip teachers with new skills and tools

If we can come together and give what we can to make a $2 million investment in our schools with our grant next year, we can sustain our amazing programs and help BSD fund the Director of Innovation – but time is short. 

Please donate today so we can make this happen for our kids!


Thank You for Investing in BCE

Thank you to everyone who donated to BCE this year during the fall campaign. Donations in the fall were up 32% over last year, putting BCE in a wonderful position to have another great year of supporting Burlingame public schools.

If you haven’t yet made your donation, please donate today. By receiving donations earlier in the year, the district is better able to plan for the following year and hire staff before school starts in the fall. If you typically wait to raise your paddle for your donation at the BCE Dinner Dance and Auction, don’t worry – donors who give now will be recognized at the gala. 

There are a variety of ways to contribute to BCE:

Thank you for supporting BCE!


Donating Appreciated Stock

Stop throwing away money! If you are making donations to charitable organizations like BCE using cash, check or credit card, you are most likely giving up federal and state tax dollars that could be saved by donating appreciated stock instead. One way to greatly simplify this process for all your charitable donations is to leverage donor-advised charitable funds. This article explains these donation strategies and hopefully everyone will use the additional tax savings to increase their donations!

David Shaffer

Author: David Shaffer

First, a little background on tax benefits before we get to the benefits of donating appreciated stock. When you donate to a charity, you are eligible for a deduction on your federal and state taxes, as long as you itemize your deductions on your taxes. So, assuming your combined Federal and State marginal tax rates add up to about 40% (family income of $150,000 or greater), when you donate $10,000 to your local public school you will save at least $4,000 on your taxes.

This is great — however, it would be even better if you donate appreciated stock because you get additional tax savings.

Say you own shares of a stock or mutual fund that you bought in 2008, which are now worth twice what you paid. If you were to sell $10,000 worth of those shares, you would owe capital gains taxes on the $5,000 increase in value. In California, where capital gains are treated like ordinary income, you might owe 15% or 20% federal capital gains tax plus, say 9.3% California state tax (if your family makes more than $100,000 a year). Estimating a 25% total tax rate, you would pay approximately $1,250 in taxes on the sale of the stock. The taxes would of course be even higher if the stock had appreciated more — say you bought Apple stock at the same time, for example, the tax bill might be closer to double that — $2,500 on the $10,000 stock sale since most of the value would be taxable gain.

What the government allows you to do is to make a charitable donation of your appreciated stock directly, instead of cash and without ever selling the stock. By doing this, you get the full $10,000 tax deduction, and never have to pay taxes on the gain in stock value. So by donating appreciated stock in this example, you can give $10,000 to your school and the government will effectively pay you back $5,250 of your donation!

To maximize the value of this, our family keeps a few of our most highly appreciated stocks in our portfolio just for our charitable donations. If you have something that has increased in value many-fold over the years, that is the perfect candidate for a stock donation.

Most charities, including of course our local BCE, will accept stock donations, which typically requires instructing your financial institution to transfer a given number of shares to a specific account for your charity. Learn more about BCE stock donation information or email for details. Given that you may have purchased different lots of your shares at different times, you should also make sure that your financial institution specifically transfers the shares that have the lowest cost basis.

This is great, and not too difficult for your larger donations. However, our family also makes a number of smaller donations, to colleges we attended, charities and non-profits we support and the occasional one-off donations when a friend or family member is fundraising. In the case of one-off donations of $50, $100, etc., it may not be worth the effort to make those donations with appreciated stock. This is one way that “donor-advised funds” can come in handy and a perfect segue to that topic. 

Donor-Advised Funds

Briefly, the way donor-advised funds work is that you make a donation to the fund (in our case, we use Fidelity Charitable) who will then set up an account for you to hold your donation(s). This is basically like having your own family foundation, though it can be done with much smaller amounts of money (Fidelity Charitable’s minimum to set up an account is $5,000, and after that initial donation, there is no minimum balance required). You get the tax deduction at the time you donate to your fund account and cannot ever get the money back for your own personal use thereafter, so you should only do this with funds you know you will eventually want to donate.

Once your account is funded, you can select from various investment choices, much like a 401(k), and the account may grow in value, depending on how you invest it. Then, over time, you direct the fund to make donations from your account to your preferred charities, with the timing and amounts that you select. When a donation is made to your selected charity from your account, you do not get a tax deduction, since you got the deduction already when you made the initial donation to the donor-advised fund.

There are several benefits to donor-advised fund accounts:

  • You can very easily donate appreciated stock. In our case, we use Fidelity to manage many of our securities and it is literally a 2 minute task to select the stock that has the greatest appreciation and transfer some shares of it to our donor-advised fund account.
  • You can very easily make small donations from the account. Fidelity has a super simple interface to find a charity (say, American Red Cross) and make a donation of any amount. It’s also very easy to set up annual donations, which we do for all our colleges, so the money goes to the charity every year without us needing to do anything.
  • Very interestingly, you can now control the tax year of your donations much more flexibly. For example, if you have one particularly high income year, you can fund your donor-advised fund account with several years worth of charitable donations. This maximizes the tax deduction value of those donations. Or, if you have some years when you itemize deductions and some when you do not, you can group all your donations into the tax year when you are itemizing. The same approach can apply if you have some years when you are subject to the AMT (which has a lower deductible rate for charitable donations) and some when you are not. You get the idea…
  • You can have the fund donate in your name, or anonymously, and with or without your address. This can decrease the mail you get when non-profits sell or rent their donor lists to other charities.

There are of course potential disadvantages which you should be aware of:

  • Once you give the money to the donor-advised fund, you cannot get it back. You (or your heirs) can choose when and who to give it to, but you can’t undo your donation. So if you are making several years’ worth of donations at once, make sure you will not change your mind.
  • Your fund account can grow in value, which is great since you will have more money to donate to your favorite non-profits. However, if you instead kept the stock in your personal account and let it grow there, and then donated it to the fund later, your deduction would be even larger. So there is a tradeoff between controlling the tax year for your donation and “just in time donating,” which may maximize your deduction, assuming the market always goes steadily up.
  • There are some fees associated with donor-advised fund accounts. For example, Fidelity charges $100 a year or 0.6% (whichever is greater) from your giving account balance. For us, this is dwarfed by the tax savings of making small donations with appreciated stock, but it is something to be aware of.

And critically, if your employer matches your charitable donations, this donor-advised fund strategy may not be right for you because your company might not match your donation to your own donor-advised fund account and they certainly won’t match the donation from the account to your selected charity. If you take advantage of corporate matching, I would suggest: (a) checking with your company to see if they will match donations to donor-advised funds and, if not, (b) donating appreciated stock directly to your charity to get your maximum company match and then using a donor-advised fund for additional giving or for any donations for which you will not get the company match.

Finally, I should say that I am not a lawyer, nor an accountant, nor have any official connection to Fidelity (other than as a customer). I’m sure other large investment banks offer donor-advised funds. So you should investigate these options for yourself and see what is right for your family. But, any time you are making a charitable donation with cash, check or credit card and not getting your employer to match your donation, you should be thinking about making the donation instead with appreciated stock, either directly or via a donor-advised fund.

For those of you who give to BCE, now that you understand how the government will effectively reimburse you for 50% or more of your donation, hopefully you will adopt this strategy and then double your BCE donation next year. 

About Dave

Dave Shaffer is a software professional and Burlingame Dad with a wife (Linda) who is very involved in BCE, two kids at BIS and one puppy constantly hunting squirrels throughout the Easton Addition. He welcomes questions or comments regarding this article at  This article was originally published on his blog


Support BCE on Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving that kicks off the charitable season when many focus on holiday and end-of-year giving. This year, please support Burlingame public schools by donating to BCE. By making your donation now, instead of waiting until the spring or end of the school year, our district will be better able to plan and hire staff for the following school year.

Putnam Subaru Burlingame & San Francisco has generously offered a $2,500 challenge grant to match donations made today on Tuesday, November 29. Consider joining the Scholars Circle at the $2,500 donation level, or make a donation at any amount that is meaningful to you.

Thank you for investing in the children in our community, and supporting Burlingame public schools!



Matching Grant Challenge for New Donors

In support of BcE’s fall campaign, two companies have generously agreed to match donations from new donors this year. If you are a first-time donor to BCE, you can make your donation go even farther by taking advantage of these matching funds. Donate today!

Junk King Challenge

Junk King will match any donation amount dollar for dollar from Giving Tuesday (November 29) through January 15, 2017 up to $10,000.

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RC Wehmeyer Challenge

RC Wehmeyer Design + Build will match (up to $10,000) the first four new donors to BCE that make a donation of at least $2,500 before January 15, 2017.


Thank you for supporting BCE and Burlingame School District!


Meet Kendra Wehmeyer, VP Scholars Circle

This fall, Kendra Wehmeyer started her two-year term as VP Scholars Circle. She and her husband Rob have a 5th grader at Lincoln Elementary. Kendra has been involved with BCE for many years, most recently as a Scholars Circle representative and New Family representative on the Lincoln site team.


VP Scholars Circle Kendra Wehmeyer.

“BCE is important to our family because it gives our son so many opportunities for learning he otherwise wouldn’t have,” Kendra said. “The money and talent BCE provides not only makes our schools great, but also continues to bring amazing families to our community. We are so lucky for all the tangible and intangible things BCE gives.”

Scholars Circle members donate $2,500 or more a year, and have the opportunity to participate in special events throughout the year. In addition, Scholars Circle donors are recognized in the BCE Annual Report at various levels, including Principal ($5,000-$7,499), assistant Superintendent ($7,500-$9,999), Superintendent ($10,000-$14,999) and Trustee ($15,000 and above).

“We plan to donate early this year as part of the Give in the Fall Y’All campaign, and hope to be able to raise our donation this year,” Kendra said. “We are proud to be part of Scholars Circle.”


Give in the Fall Y’all

This year, we’re asking donors to give in the fall when possible rather than waiting for spring events.  Here’s why you should donate now:

  • District leaders will have time to plan for the upcoming year, including time to hire new staff.
  • We’ll have time to collect corporate matching funds, which take time to process.
  • The Silicon Valley Gives program is canceled this year,  so there’s no reason to wait until spring.
  • We can redeploy valuable volunteer resources to focus on securing new donors.
  • Fall donors will be recognized throughout the year, including at the BCE Dinner Dance & Auction, to inspire others to invest in our schools.

With your help, we can reach historic giving levels by January 15, 2017 and empower BSD to better plan programs for the following academic year. Thank you for your support!



Make a Big Impact, One Month at a Time

As parents, we understand there are a lot of demands on your resources, and that you are committed to the best possible education for your child. There are 10 months left in BCE’s fiscal year, and by starting a monthly gift today you can make a big impact in our schools.


You can donate online as a monthly recurring donation or as a one-time donation. As always, a gift of any amount is deeply appreciated.

Does your employer offer corporate matching? Last year BCE received more than $265,000 in corporate matches! Be sure to ask your HR department about this option.


FAQs for New Families to Burlingame School District

Welcome to Burlingame School District! Our school performance ranks among the top 10 percent in the state. Since 1981, our school district’s education foundation, Burlingame Community for Education Foundation (BCE), has been a critical part of that ongoing success. Today, BCE is the primary fundraising tool that Burlingame parents can leverage to make a measurable impact on their child’s public school experience.


The 2016-2017 BCE Board of Directors.

What is BCE?

BCE is a volunteer­-driven fundraising organization. Our mission is to help Burlingame School District sustain and enhance an exceptional public education for all TK­-8th grade students in our schools. Working together with parents, the district, and community, we provide BSD with financial resources to create a rich and inspiring education for our children beyond what is possible with public funds. BCE is a 501(c)(3) non­profit public benefit corporation so your donation is tax­-deductible.

Wait, why do public schools need private money?

California ranks 46th in the nation for per pupil spending on education. Even with the passage of recent legislation like Proposition 30, the Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), local parcel taxes and bond measures, California is not currently funding public education at an acceptable level for Burlingame students. We believe our children deserve more. Our collective BCE donations provide flexible resources for our school district so they can do more for our children.

What does BCE do with the money it raises?

Thanks to our generous donors and volunteers, BCE granted $1,900,000 to BSD this academic year. Our grant is essential to augmenting public funds and delivering a high ­quality education to your child and more than 3,300 students across seven schools. BCE’s 2016-17 grant helps fund:

  • Science and math specialists and resources
  • TK-8 library and media services
  • Integrated technology specialist
  • Credentialed physical education program
  • Visual and performing arts
  • TK-8 choral and instrumental music program
  • Highly trained lunchtime supervision
  • Teacher professional development

What is the difference between BCE and my school’s Parent­ Teacher Association (PTA)?

BCE and PTA have different missions, and both organizations are important for your school to thrive. The primary focus of PTA is community building, while the primary focus of BCE is fundraising. Although the PTA may raise funds for its school’s site­-specific needs such as playground equipment and campus beautification, only BCE’s grant dollars can be used to fund accredited teacher salaries and educational programs. BCE’s grant to Burlingame School District ensures equitable programs and resources across all school sites, and maximum effectiveness of every dollar donated. A donation to BCE is a direct investment in all TK-­8th grade students.

How much should I give to BCE?

This is a personal decision for every family. Please join us and give what you can. Every gift at any amount is valued and appreciated. In helping you determine your contribution, you may want to consider data from the National Education Association, May 2016:

  • California spent $2,050 less per child than the national average
  • California spent $4,000 less per child than the state of Minnesota
  • California spent $6,300 less per child than the state of New York

We hope you’ll consider donating at our Scholars Circle level of $2,500 or greater.

Public funding is not enough to provide the kind of education our children deserve. Local parcel taxes and bond measures help significantly, but do not completely cover the need. Our foundation can. Remember that donations are tax­-deductible.

When should I give to BCE?

This year we are encouraging all donors to give in the fall to ensure that we can communicate our final grant early in the spring. In past years, many of our donations have come in very late, forcing us to make our grant commitments to BSD over the summer, well after the regular school district planning cycle that occurs in the spring. In cases where our grant supports staff, the timing of our grant means that BSD cannot effectively hire staff for the start of school.

Can I volunteer for BCE as a parent new to Burlingame?

Yes! One of the most important ways you can help BCE is by volunteering. This year we have more than 200 parent volunteers helping run the foundation and our events. We still need help in the following areas: school site support, administrative support, auction, IT, legal advisers, accounting, marketing, grant writers and events. We’ll find the right fit for your availability, interests and skills. Join our team and meet other parents from every school site who are making a meaningful impact on the entire district.

Think about it:

We have a strong public school district, but without a strong foundation, our schools do not have sufficient funds to provide the kind of education our children deserve. Help us ensure Burlingame children reach their potential by supporting BCE.

For more information about BCE at your school, please contact: