Agenda and Notes - May 23, 2018

State College Area School District

OUR MISSION:  To prepare students for lifelong success through excellence in education.


May 23, 2018, Board Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
11:30 a.m. - Meeting Room A, Panorama Village Building
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA  16801



I.     Call to Order

II.    Development (attachment)

III.   Future Meeting Agenda Items

IV.    Public Comment

V.     Adjournment


State College Area School District
May 23, 2018, Board Finance and Audit Committee Meeting Notes       
11:30 a.m. - Meeting Room A, Panorama Village Building
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA 16801

I.        Call to Order
Mr. Fozard began the Board Finance and Audit Committee meeting at 11:35 a.m. and turned the meeting over to Mr. Brown to begin the development evaluation discussion.

Committee Members:​ Amber Concepcion, Dan Duffy, Scott Fozard, Laurel Zydney
Others:​ Amy Bader, Lori Bedell, Gretchen Brandt, Randy Brown, Marie Caster, Jim Leous, Dave Lieb, Bob O’Donnell, Donna Watson

 A copy of all materials distributed to board members for discussion is included with the official notes, unless otherwise indicated.

II.       Development
Mr. Brown gave an overview of the meeting agenda, and introduced Mr. David Lieb, Senior Associate Vice President for Development at Penn State. All Board members and administration in attendance introduce themselves.  

Mr. Brown reviewed the SCASD Education Foundation financial statement as of April 30, 2018, and income from the first Maroon and Gray Society Banquet held on May 19th.  Ticket sales were approximately $8,100, sponsorships including the “green room” were approximately $31,600, with additional monies and pledges from the evening coming to a net total of about $60,000 that is still being reconciled.  The expenses for the event were approximately $2,000 and were paid by the district thus far. Mr. Brown continued reviewing specific line items on the financial statement, noting $60,250 in EITC contributions had been transferred to the general fund of the district to support approved programs, Oracle Academy and Elementary STEM.  An estimated amount of $4,000-$5,000 in Centre Gives donations was raised. This amount does not include the portion of the “stretch pool” funds. The first week in June is the next Education Foundation board meeting and an updated financial report will be available then.

Dr. O’Donnell reflected on the goal of the Foundation and development function and why we felt an annual campaign was important. He reflected on what it was we said we wanted to do and are we going in the right direction to bring financial benefit to impacts kids, but also working with the Foundation to build relationships.  Committee member reminded all that the broad attempt of this meeting is not to evaluate the Foundation, but to evaluate Development in a broad sense. We want to take advantage of Mr. Lieb being here. Dr. O’Donnell reminded members that the Development Officer’s agreement is up for renewal in August, and the Board will need to decide how we are doing and are we getting a return based on assessment of that. The Development Officer’s agreement is $48,000 per year.  

Mr. Lieb reviewed his background, noting he has 30 years experience in small nonprofits and startups, and a number of years at Penn State.  Starting a foundation can cost more than it makes, and the fact that SCASD’s foundation is making a profit this early on is very positive. Some hurdles to overcome are built-in biases, i.e., why do we need to do this as a public school district. Mr. Lieb has three kids in the District and cares as a taxpayer how we spend money.  He thinks this is a good direction and this initiative allows kids to do things not able to do otherwise. As far as evaluating --

  • Reflect on what was said three years ago to accomplish and use that as a metric to measure success of the program.
  • Set financial benchmarks that are reasonable and attainable.
  • Use caution looking backwards.  There might be things that were decided not to work on and should not hold someone accountable for not achieving that.
  • If feel you are making progress, establish goals
    • what are priorities
    • what are you trying to accomplish
    • needs vs. fundraising priorities

Mr. Lieb suggested putting out a call to academic leadership for needs. Then determine what is marketable, and what is going to attract donors’ interest.  

Committee discussed terminology of donations vs. sponsorships, and EITC funds.  Mr. Lieb stated if money comes in as philanthropic, it is a donation, except sports sponsorships.  If money comes in for a sport sponsorship, i.e., a football game sponsored by XYZ Company, it is still a donation to the District and the funds can be used for new uniforms or wherever it is needed. Dr. O’Donnell suggested maybe we would solicit differently.  EITC funds are different from a business standpoint and District can use only for specific programs.

Mr. Lieb responded to questions about evaluation of the Development Officer and fundraising efforts, stating you can look at total amount of money brought in and you do need to look at monetary goals, but also non-monetary, i.e., how broad the relationships are for the district.  Mr. Lieb reminded all that this Foundation is still in its infancy and fundraising events are more for relationships and expanding our base. He said the amount raised by the Maroon and Gray event is a very impressive number as events are not typically great for fundraising. He suggested putting goals in place for the next 12 to 36 months.

Dr. O’Donnell added he is reflecting on the annual campaign, Memorial Field and taking that effort public, and trying to get significant contributions.  As we work through the year, need to work on next M&G effort. Mr. Lieb stated we are getting a lot of professional experience from our current Development Officer.  It is unusual to raise that much money in the first year, and added mailings are important. The M&G event could be an annual event or every other year; look at major gifts of $5,000 to $10,000 dollars; there is work to be done to move people to believe in the initiative.

The Committee Chair suggested going around the table for questions or comments.  
Committee:    Should a development professional pursue professional development?
Mr. Lieb:         Evaluate who is presenting, what is the itinerary, curriculum, cost, value.  The District has an experienced fundraiser and would be hard pressed to find someone with that experience for part-time pay.  
Committee:   How do you see the interplay of PTAs, Booster Clubs, etc.?
Mr. Lieb:        Some are also donors, develop good relationships.
Committee:   If not looking at dollar amount, look at past or future?
Mr. Lieb:        Going forward, might pull some bullets back onto future list. How many contacts (touches) did you have, how many appeals, add targets. This is a new enterprise, if put in place will be a long-term venture; put in incrementally.  Going back to previous question, if you have a limited budget, would rather spend money to send Development Officer to talk to a potential donor.
Committee:   We have a fundraising effort and also a Development Function. Foundation is tasked with fundraising, and Development Officer is tasked with fundraising through the Foundation but also overall development.
Mr. Lieb:        Determine if activities are going to contribute to long-term success and be measurable; add those bullet points and let them know what direction to go in.  If activities are not going to contribute to fundraising effort, then why are you doing them.
Committee:   Evaluation of M&G event -- this year is easy, how to determine future plans for event?
Mr. Lieb:          Ask a random sample of attendees if they enjoyed themselves, would they attend again, should we do every year, what should be done differently.  Will be very helpful to get input. As a side note, have Foundation Board members call donors to personally thank them.
Committee:     How to evaluate whether doing activities and not having success, or is it bad luck.
Mr. Lieb:
          What are the fundamentals; did he or she deliver proposals; what was the value of the proposals; are you having gift conversations; need to have measures and metrics in place for Fundraising personnel.
Committee:      Composition of board and branding concept, importance of branding; Foundation magazine is branding Foundation but also branding district; what is the role of communications team and are there overlapping roles?
Mr. Lieb:          Penn State Communications office reports separately, but Fundraising efforts are coordinated with Communications, so they compliment efforts rather than conflicting.
Committee:     Which is more powerful in generating both interest and outreach -- print/email or face to face.
Mr. Lieb:          Face-to-face interaction, but you can’t just do one, you need to have overall.
Committee:     How do we evaluate our investment in Affinity Connection’s database? Almost two-thirds of the budgeted $120,000 goes to Affinity.
Mr. Lieb:          Other organizations can help; ask Development Officer for input; call around to other companies, tell them what you’re doing and ask how much would it cost.  If going out to bid, fully articulate what you want them to do, i.e., manage database, record donors, etc.
Committee:     When you need to replace someone, do you look at the base the previous person built?
Mr. Lieb:          Most Fundraisers have built personal or professional relationships. Look at the base/foundation has been built, is it something someone else can build on.  Ask Fundraiser to document activities, contacts, etc. if need to replace that person.

Committee members and Dr. O’Donnell expressed appreciation to Mr. Lieb for taking the time to meet and for the valuable input.  

III.      Public Comment
There was no public comment.

IV.       Adjournment
Mr. Fozard adjourned the Board Finance and Audit Committee meeting at 1:13 p.m.

Submitted by,


Marie Caster
Acting Board Secretary