Yes, many of them do. At least 35 towns and cities in Massachusetts, including Belmont, Brookline, Lexington, Melrose, Medford, Newton and Winchester, have educational foundations which have had a positive impact on their public schools.

AEF funds are an adjunct to the school budget and do not replace revenue from local, state, or federal sources. AEF’s goal is not to fill gaps in the school budget (teachers, supplies, etc.), rather we focus on strategic, innovative and future-focused initiatives that help the district grow.

AEF is independent of the schools, but we strive to support the vision and goals of the district.  Our board includes a School Committee representative, a teacher, and a liaison from the Superintendent’s office. This cooperation ensures that AEF is aware of the district’s key priorities.  In addition, AEF and Arlington Public Schools leaders meet annually to discuss priorities.


Our Board of Directors (comprised of 10+ volunteers), reviews and votes on every grant.  AEF School Representatives review and vote on Innovations in Education grants.

In addition, the AEF Board includes a School Committee representative (non-voting), a teacher (voting), and a liaison from the Superintendent’s office (non-voting).   These members provide valuable feedback and insight on grant applications ensuring continuity with the district’s goals.

We like to partner with many constituents!  Depending on the type of grant, Arlington teachers, administrators, parents, or community members can apply.  Learn more about the application process.

AEF supports Arlington’s teachers and students through the following grant programs ranging from $250 classroom grants to $100,000 district-wide initiatives:

  • Innovations in Education ($250-$3,000) support innovative teaching and learning projects.
  • Continuing Scholar Awards (<$2,500) support educator exploratory experiences that will in turn benefit their students.
  • Development and Expansion Grants ($5,000-$10,000) support the development of new educational strategies, including the expansion of pilot projects, professional development and resources, and administrative leadership initiatives that enhance curriculum and/or community.
  • District Investment Grants ($25,000+) support systemic, long-term change.

Learn more about our grant programs.

Revenue & Financial

Thank you for thinking of AEF!  Here’s more information on the process.

AEF relies on charitable donations from individuals and local businesses and does not receive funding from grants, the state or any other sources.


Stars Program

It’s simple. With a minimum $20 tax deductible donation your recognized teacher receives a special certificate from AEF. Recognized teachers do not directly receive money from AEF. All funds raised from the Stars Program are put into the AEF general fund and used to award grants at all levels across all of Arlington’s Public Schools.

Learn more about the Stars Program.

The Stars Program is an AEF fundraising program that allows parents and community members to recognize and thank teachers and staff through a donation to AEF.

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