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Simple Solutions To Growing Your Corporate Supporter Base

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By: Tami Stegmaier – Development Director, Irvine Public Schools Foundation

Dee Dee Bryant – Vice President Marketing, School Spirit Pays


The financial support Education Foundations provide to their district is real and creates influential impact.  The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) is a perfect example.  While IUSD is one of the fastest growing school districts in the nation, it also happens to be among the lowest funded, at 30% below the national average.  However, with the help of Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), IUSD has been able to overcome state funding shortfalls and propel their district to one of national recognition.  Based on the state’s latest Academic Performance Index, which measures achievement on a scale of 200 to 1,000, eight of the top 20 highest-scoring schools in the county are in the Irvine Unified School District.  This along, with other numerous accolades, proves that they are doing something right. 


But how are they able to do this despite their funding shortfall? “With a network of individual and corporate donors, Irvine Public Schools Foundation strongly supports our mission to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision,” said Terry Walker, Superintendent of Irvine Unified School District. “Not only does IPSF generate new revenue for our school, including funds that effectively increase educator-to-student rations, the foundation also facilitates a number of innovative programs.” 


Given the importance of IPSF’s support, their development team knows they have to deliver each and every year.  However, as each dollar gets harder to come by, the team realized how imperative it is to move from relying solely on individual contributors to a strategic focus on their business community.  Knowing that businesses need recognition for their donation and often times struggle to find the budget to give as much as they would like, IPSF decided to take two very creative steps. 


1.      Partnered with School Spirit Pays (a premier partner of NSFA): School Spirit Pays (SSP) is an educational fundraising company that has found an innovative and cost free way for businesses to generate thousands of dollars for your foundation at no additional cost to you, their consumers, or your foundation. A credit card processing company with a twist, SSP partners with businesses in your community to process their credit cards and then donates 25% of the proceeds back to your foundation in the name of the business.  The best part is that it costs the business nothing additional because every business that takes credit cards today is already paying for this service fee.  SSP simply matches these rates to the penny so they see no incremental cost, but start creating a monthly donation to support their local foundation.  “The program has been a great success so far and is only continuing to get stronger.  SSP has quickly become one of our esteemed Top 100 business supporters and a critical partner in our journey to grow our corporate donations” said Neda Eaton, CEO of IPSF. If you would like more information on how your foundation can partner with School Spirit Pays, please send an email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


2.     Launched the IPSF Top 100 Businesses Supporting Education campaign:  The IPSF “Top 100 Businesses” campaign is a way to recognize and honor our corporate supporters.  Creating a marketing toolkit that allows businesses to promote that they are supporters of the local school district, IPSF is hoping the community will take notice and honor these businesses.  "We hope that parents in our community will patronize these businesses and let them know that their leadership is appreciated," said _Julie Tapp, IPSF’s Executive Vice President.  The program was launched this fall and has already had strong success.  With a recognition reception in October and another scheduled for early next year, the campaign has created a buzz and excitement within the business community. 


We are excited to expand these two initiatives in 2015 and are looking forward to the continued success of IPSF and the Irvine Unified School District. If you would like more information about Irvine Public Schools Foundation or our development programs, please contact Tami Stegmaier at 949-265-6402. 



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School Spirit Pays, Inc. is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek CA.

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