Is my contribution tax deductible?
Yes! The HSA is a registered 501c3 and 100% of your Bear Fund donation is tax deductible. You should receive a tax statement as part of your receipt of donation.
How is the Bear Fund different from the Class Activity Fee?
The Bear Fund is the annual fundraising campaign run by the HSA as a primary source of revenue. Funds raised by the HSA support programs that are supplementary, including the Food Prints health & science program, our recess coaches, and the drum line/band. These funds also help support Lafayette teachers through supplies and professional development funding. The HSA also helps the school cover licenses and general building supplies so that Dr. B is able to spend more of her school budget on teachers. The HSA budget is set annually and voted on by the HSA membership — Lafayette parents and families. Bear Fund contributions are also tax-deductible donations.
Class activity fees pay for students’ transportation to field trips, class activities, and field day t-shirts. DCPS does not fund field trips or year-end parties. These are fees asked for by the school. The HSA helps process the funds to make it easier on families, so that parents don’t need to send in several checks or cash over the course of the year. (You may remember bringing money to school for field trips when you where a kid!)
I have already bought supplies and paid my Class Activity Fee - why are you asking for more money! Isn’t this a public school?
We know, it’s a lot! However, Lafayette receives fewer DCPS funds per pupil than most schools in the city. We are a fortunate community, and most Lafayette parents choose to donate to give our kids a Peace Program, to ensure teachers do not have to self-fund classroom supplies, and to supply our art room would go without the gallons of paint, yards of posterboard, and pounds of clay used by the wonderful Ms. Laughlin.
All those amounts suggested on the payment system seem really high. I can’t give that much.
That is totally ok! Just give what you can! Though the HSA spends $400 per student, many families generously give more than that knowing that every family’s budget is different. We also offer monthly installment plan for families who wish to spread their donation out over 10 months. And if you can only give a few dollars, that’s just fine. Some families give $25, some give $2500. The important thing is that you participate at whatever level works for you — we want 100% of families to give! If everyone gives what they can, all our kids benefit.
Our kids are young. What does the Bear Fund and HSA fund for the younger grades?
The HSA budget funds programs for kids at all grade levels. Food Prints, for example, is a K-2nd science and health program that gets kids out in the Bears garden, planting, growing and eating their own veggies. PK and K students have their own field day, supported by the HSA, and many of the events to welcome new families are also funded by parent contributions.
How does Lafayette’s fundraising compare to schools with similar profiles?
Lafayette actually raises less money per student than nearby schools with similar demographics. Part of the reason for this is our philosophy. Unlike nearby schools, we don’t believe in asking for a fixed amount per student. We are a public school and think everyone should feel welcomed here, and we welcome all donations. We want families at all budget levels to give what they can within their comfort level. That said, we ask that families who are able, to donate at the $1000+ level to benefit all our Lafayette cubs.
How do teachers benefit from my donations?
Nearly half of the HSA programming budget goes directly to teachers. The HSA reimburses teachers for classroom supplies they purchase and use throughout the year, provides professional development grants, and pays for credentialing courses and exams.
My main interest is to support additional teachers throughout the school. Does the Bear Fund help fund teachers?
Yes! The HSA covers much of Dr. B’s non-personnel spending. By design, we pay for things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, copy paper and more, By doing so, Dr. B can spend more of her DCPS budget directly on hiring teachers.
Where do Bear Fund donations go? Can I direct the use of my contribution?
While we pool all the HSA revenue, including the Bear Fund and funds raised by events like the Fall Festival and the Auction, to support the HSA budget (which you can see here), we urge anyone who wants to get involved in developing the budget to come to HSA board and general meetings! The HSA begins budget planning in December.
Will I be asked for more contributions throughout the school year?
The Bear Fund drive is the only time during the year when you will be asked to donate directly. There are, however, fundraising events you may want to consider when deciding what to donate to the Bear Fund. The big ones include:
- Fall Festival: Unlimited ride bracelets have cost $25 (early bird special) to $40 (at the door) per child in the past. Tickets are also sold.
- Auction: Auction tickets were around $75/per adult in the past. You may choose to bid on auction items, which will range from just a few dollars to several thousand.
Additionally, there are smaller fundraisers throughout the year like Potomac Pizza and Child’s Play night, during which a portion of the company’s sales are donated to the HSA.
Can I donate by check instead of credit card?
Yes! Checks should be made out to the Lafayette HSA. Deliver by hand to the HSA’s mailbox at the school office, or mail to Lafayette Home & School Association, c/o Lafayette Elementary School, 5701 Broad Branch Road, NW Washington, DC 20015. Please write “Bear Fund” in the memo space on the check.