What is fundshifting?
Great question! As philanthropy continues to evolve to best meet the needs of our world, there has been a change in practice toward finding and addressing the root of a problem. This change has us asking more informed questions about why certain situations exist, looking upstream to understand who holds power, and dismantling the systems that aren’t equitably serving everyone.
In the traditional, charitable model of giving, we didn’t acknowledge the impacts of centuries of racism, sexism and ableism on our economic, health and educational systems. The move toward shifting resources is an intentional redistribution of wealth from those who have benefited from centuries of wealth accumulation to those who have suffered generations of systemic racism. So, when we shift PTA funds, we are acknowledging, for example, the historical impact redlining had on Black families’ ability to create generational wealth, and the challenges schools in these redlined neighborhoods continue to face because of this. Fundshifting asks us to question why we have such an extreme division of wealth between our neighboring PTAs and examine the positive actions we can take toward disrupting systems of oppression.
What schools are participating?
We have met with all of the West Seattle public grade school PTAs (including K8), and several have made commitments of support. We asked Alki, Arbor Heights, Lafayette, Genesee Hill, Pathfinder, Fairmount, and Gatewood to contribute to the pooled fund, and will be distributing the shared resources to Concord, Roxhill, Highland Park, Sanislo and West Seattle. (Louisa Boren STEM is literally right on the line and still deciding how their school would like to participate.) The participating schools receiving funding also all happen to be classified as Title I, and the Redlining Map from 1936 shows the clear delineation of historical racism that created the inequities in these neighborhood schools, compared to the schools in the north-west blocks of West Seattle.
How are the funds split?
The formula to determine who is eligible to receive funds and how the funds will be split is set by the Advisory Committee on an annual basis. The Advisory Committee includes 1-2 representatives from every contributing and recipient school, which included Concord, Gatewood, Genesee Hill, Highland Park, Lafayette, Pathfinder, Roxhill Sanislo and West Seattle for the inaugural year. Each school chose their Advisory Committee representatives. For the 2022/23 school year the Advisory Committee used OSPI's Washington State Report Card data on Enrollment of Underserved Groups and SPS Equity Tiers to make their determination. Gatewood, Genesee Hill, Lafayette, and Pathfinder shifted funds to Concord ($4,646), Highland Park ($4,366), Roxhill ($4,130), Sanislo ($2,507) and West Seattle ($5,266).
How will the money be spent at each school once it's received?
The funds can be spent just like PTA funds. They are unrestricted and to be used to support whatever the school community needs as directed by the school community.
Doesn’t Title 1 funding cover this gap already? Our PTA needs to raise money at our school to cover what Title 1 schools already get!
Title 1 school is not the same as being a fully funded school. The easiest way to understand Title 1 funding is to imagine two big buckets of funding:
a) funding for education (that’s the direct support of learning stuff, and all schools receive an equitable baseline per student) and
b) funding for access (that’s the stuff that makes it possible for everyone to equitably receive their education, some with more need than others).
Our public education system is designed pretty narrowly for middle-class, fully-abled, native English speaking students (and their families). The workarounds needed to make the education system equitably accessible to those who don’t show up this way are expensive, and additional Title 1 funding provides students at these schools with a roughly similar experience to what most kids in non-Title 1 schools already have without additional supports. In other words, Title 1 funding brings kids in Title 1 schools to the starting line, while the kids at non-Title 1 schools are already there.
When PTAs at well-resourced schools raise additional funds (that are unrestricted and can be directed by the families who raise the money) this contributes to a widening gap between students at different schools.
Can a school outside of West Seattle get involved?
Currently, this fund is set up to benefit our West Seattle (District 6) neighborhood schools. If your school is outside of West Seattle but would like to contribute to the fund, please contact us.
If your school is outside of West Seattle (District 6), and looking to receive funds, many other neighborhoods are launching similar efforts. Please contact us for more information and we can put you in touch with the right people.
How do you select your Board and Advisory Committee members?
We have a Board application which is reviewed annually by a nominations committee, and then by the full Board and Advisory Committee. If you’re interested and would like to speak directly to a current member for more information, please fill out the form and someone will be in touch with you.
Advisory Committee members are selected by their individual schools as representatives of their school. If you’re interested in being on the Advisory Committee, please reach out to your PTA leadership and ask about their process. Thank you for your interest!
Can I make a personal contribution? Do you need business sponsorships?
Although we welcome donations of any size and from any donor, our main mission is to shift funding that is already coming through PTAs. However, you can certainly make a donation, which will be used to help support our minimal annual operating costs. To make a donation or to get details about sponsorship, please contact us. We'd love to talk with you.
We’d also encourage you to be an advocate at your local public school for greater funding transparency and share why shifting PTA funds is important to you. Thank you for your passion for making our public schools more equitable!