Excellence in Education Foundation was established in 1986. The organization was created in response to legal policies, like CA Prop 13, that were passed in the 1970s that significantly reduced funding for schools, including the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD). As TTUSD began to feel the crunch of reduced funding, a group of concerned citizens formed and raised approximately $30,000, which was distributed to the district. Four years later, the members of the existing Excellence in Education Foundation invited local leaders to join their group and take over the existing foundation. The Skiing for Schools fundraising program was then launched by Squaw Valley.
While most of the 160 education foundations in California were formed to save programs districts were losing, the Excellence in Education Board decided that they would respond to teacher-identified needs (as individual, applied-for grants). They also decided early on that creating an endowment fund would be critical for long-term financial stability.
The Foundation continued to grow throughout the years, eventually adopting the Dining for Schools and Golfing for Schools fundraising programs. The Foundation’s most successful single fundraising effort was the Endowment House, conceived by board member and architect Scott Ryan. Over 220 contributors donated to create the Endowment House, a three-year project that culminated with the sale of the house in 1999, and a realized gain for the Endowment of more than $450,000, bringing the endowment to $1.2 million. The endowment fund continues to grow, and the current spending policy allows the board to spend up to 3.25% of the three-year trailing average investment income balance.
Our impact continues to serve TTUSD teachers and schools. In 2000 the Linda Brown and Fellows Awards was created to recognize teachers who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to teaching and dedication to innovation.
The Tahoe Truckee Reads Community Literacy Campaign was launched in 2011 to improve third-grade literacy in our region. We were awarded the 2012 All-America City Award by the National Civic League and National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading based on our ambitious plan to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by the end of third-grade. These efforts continue as Excellence in Education and the community work to strengthen literacy skills for our youth.
In 2016, Excellence in Education partnered with TTUSD for a five-year financial partnership to fund a 1-to-1 Chromebook computer roll-out for students in fifth to twelfth grades. This effort continued in 2020 with a campaign to raise $80,000 to provide additional Chromebooks to support students in distance learning (a result of COVID-19 restrictions).