The Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) has donated almost $2.5 million to local schools for the upcoming school year.

On Wednesday, August 30 SMMEF gave a fundraising update to the Santa Monica Malibu Unified Board of Education that included details on the donation.

Linda Greenberg, SMMEF Executive Director said, “Here’s the great news folks, from the 2016 – 2017 campaign we have a total of 3,094 donors. This is a 15.9 percent increase from the 2015 – 2016 campaign, which is pretty spectacular.”

Greenberg noted and applauded the parents who donated in last year’s campaign.

The number of parent donors increased to 2,658 and the total amount given also increased over the 2015-16 campaign.

“Our parent participation increased 33.9 percent and that is the best news for us because that really has helped us when we go out into the community looking for funding,” said Greenberg. “We ended the year with $1,512,000 from just parents, and that is pretty great.”

Greenberg also laid out the giving society’s statistics.

Corporate partners raised $393,524, including 55 donors, which is a 37.5 percent increase from last year. The superintendent’s circle raised $569,824, including 69 donors, which is a 4.5 percent increase.

“Lastly we have the leadership circle. This was our first year doing this and it raised $194,318, including 70 donors,” said Greenberg.

During the 2016 – 17 campaigns SMMEF hosted three successful events.

They hosted the Greg Coote Concert for the Arts that raised $87,948. SMMEF hosted their second annual Santa Monica – Malibu Wine Auction, where 400 guests attended the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. The event raised $254,529.

At the end of the school year, the campaign also hosted the Sand and Sea Ball event, which consisted of a Gala dance competition with local luminaries, like Superintendent Ben Drati. The event is raised $48,335.

As the new school year is in full effect, SMMEF officials said they are off to a great start and as of July 31 SMMEF has raised $367,660.

SMMEF gave just under $2.5 million to the Board for programs during the 2017-18 school year. The grant is meant to support a variety of programs for students at all 16 SMMUSD schools.

These donations will fund arts, the district’s contracted elementary arts program, instructional assistants in classrooms, ballroom dance for fifth graders and a stretch grant for each school. Most stretch grants are used for the funds of STEM, arts, or student health and wellbeing programs.

“We have had wonderful partnership with the school district and PTA and together we have been able to provide an amazing education to our students. So thank you to everyone who has contributed,” said Greenberg.