Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the Foundation?


The Bullis-Purrisima Elementary School Foundation (BPESF or BCS Foundation) is run by parent volunteers who serve as ambassadors for the school while raising funds for Bullis Charter School through the Annual Campaign in the fall and the spring Benefit.




Why does BCS need the Foundation & what is the public funding gap?


As a public charter school BCS does receive public support. However, BCS receives less parcel tax and less property tax revenues than traditional LASD elementary schools. This results in a “public funding gap” that is currently at $5,600 per student and quickly growing. To learn more about public funding gap funding visit: Why Donate?




Houses are so expensive, don’t the schools get enough from property taxes?


It is true that houses are very expensive in Los Altos, however, because of Prop 13, the public schools get a limited amount of funding from property taxes. Prop 13 limited property tax rates and increases and set assessed values at 1976 levels, unless a property has been sold or expanded through a remodel. Prop 13 effectively cut funding for public schools in California in half. Today, California is ranked 41st in the nation for per-student funding. Property owners in high performing districts in other states pay a higher percent of taxes on the value of their house. Compared to high performing districts elsewhere in the U.S., (Jericho Union Free, Scarsdale, New Trier) per-student funding in California is woefully inadequate—more than $10,000 less per child per year—than many of these other top districts.




How is the money used?


Money raised during the Annual Campaign and BCS Benefit is used to cover operating expenses for our two Los Altos campuses during the current school year. It protects small class size, garners innovative teaching staff, and secures our specialists in science, technology, art, math, Mandarin, Spanish, drama, music and PE. This year, BCS is making additional investments to meet the challenges of a COVID learning environment - over $500,000 to hire additional staff, purchase PPE and hygiene stations and to create flexible outdoor classrooms.




If I’m unhappy with my teacher, principal, or the school, why should I give to the Foundation?


Not donating to the Annual Campaign means the Foundation will have less money to give to BCS. This affects the school’s budget directly as they will not get enough funding from the Foundation to cover the gap for each student. It may mean fewer staff to teach and support our learners in their classrooms, it may limit our ability to implement innovative programs and curriculum. The impact of reduced Foundation funding will be felt by our teachers and learners most of all. If you are upset with an aspect of your child’s education, please communicate your concerns to your teacher, principal, the superintendent and/or members of the school board. They all want to ensure your child is both benefiting from and enjoying their experience at BCS.




Can my child attend BCS if I am unable to make a donation?


Yes, absolutely. All donations are voluntary and have no bearing on a child’s enrollment or standing as a student at BCS. The Foundation gratefully accepts donations of all sizes and encourages families to make an investment in their child’s education that is right for them.





Donation Question

Is my donation tax deductible?


Yes, the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity and donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Our tax identification number is 48-01298690.




What are the Annual Campaign and BCS Benefit?


The Annual Campaign is our largest and most important fundraising activity of the year. We always strive for 100% participation from BCS families and encourage families to make their donations or commitments early, ideally by October 9th. A successful fall campaign allows us to better manage our resources and confidently provide BCS with the full funding it requires. The spring BCS Benefit is a celebration of our community that also raises funds for special programs at BCS. Past events have benefited the World Language program, Visual & Performing Arts, and helped to establish our FabLab and MakerSpace. Last year we successfully hosted the Foundation’s first-ever ‘virtual Benefit’ and raised over $100,000 for computers and technology at BCS. Save the date Saturday, March 6th, 2021 for our next virtual BCS Benefit!




How much should I give?


We encourage you to give an amount that is meaningful to you and your family. In response to the widening Public Funding Gap and additional COVID related expenses, we have raised our suggested contribution to the Annual Campaign to $5,500 per enrolled student. If that doesn’t feel like the right amount, please consider giving something that is comfortable. Every dollar makes a difference. We welcome and encourage gifts of any level so that everyone can participate in the campaign and have a stake in the education of all of our learners. Every single gift makes an impact and it truly is a whole community effort to support our school. Please join us.




What is the Leadership Circle?


The Leadership Circle recognizes families who make contributions to the Annual Campaign above the per-student suggestion. These important contributions support our signature BCS programs including World Languages; Choir, Drama and Music; and Fab Lab, Makerspace and BCS S.T.E.A.M. Recognition in Leadership Circle begins with an additional $3,000 per family contribution. As thanks for their generosity, contributors to the Leadership Circle are invited to participate in a variety of small group receptions with BCS administrators, teachers and community leaders.




How can I make a donation to the Annual Campaign?


The campaign will officially launch at Back-to-School Night in September, however early gifts are always welcome! This year, in response to COVID-19 we are encouraging families to make their gifts online as much as possible. Because of disruptions to mail delivery and collection during campus closure we will not be distributing our traditional yellow donation envelopes this Fall. Instead we offer a variety of easy ways to give:

  • Donate Online
    Visit www.bcsfoundation.com/online-donation to make your gift through PayPal. If possible, please consider including the 2.6% PayPal processing fee in your gift - a calculation table is available on our website.
  • Transfer Stock
    The Foundation accepts gifts of publicly traded securities through our Fidelity Brokerage account. It is important that you notify the Foundation in advance of a stock transfer, please email donations@bcsfoundation.com to notify us of a pending transfer. Visit www.bcsfoundation.com/donate-securities for our account and transfer information.
  • Employee Giving Campaigns & Matching Gifts
    Last year, nearly ⅓ of BCS families accessed corporate matching dollars to increase their investment in BCS. Most Annual Campaign gifts - and some BCS Benefit gifts! - can be made or matched through corporate giving programs. Visit www.bcsfoundation.com/corporate-matching to see if your employer offers this incredible benefit.
  • Donor Advised Funds and Private Foundations
    As a 501c3 non-profit organization the BCS Foundation can accept donations through DAFs or family foundations. You’ll most likely need the following information:

    Name: Bullis-Purissima Elementary School Foundation
    EIN: 48-01298690
    Address: 102 W. Portola Ave, Los Altos CA 94022
  • Contributions by Check
    We recognize not everyone is interested or able to make a gift to the Foundation online. A printable donation form can be downloaded at www.XXXX and donation boxes are available in both the North & South Campus offices. Please mail contributions to BPESF 102 W. Portola Ave, Los Altos CA 94022.




What about comapny matching programs?


Yes, most gifts to the BCS Foundation will qualify for comany matches - almost 1/3 of BCS families use this option to increase their investment in BCS. Click here to see if your employer offers a matching gift program: www.bcsfoundation.com/corporate-matching. Some will match your contribution dollar for dollar, while others may double or even triple the amount of your donation. The employee must request the match; it’s not something the BCS Foundation can do for you. Generally, employees can initiate the matching contribution by completing a form on their company’s internal website or through their HR department. When inititating a gift to the BCS Foundation through your company program please search for: Bullis-Purissima Elementary School Foundation EIN: 48-1298690 Some companies invite employees to make a donation through an internal portal so the company can automatically provide a matching gift. If you do this, please tell us by emailing giftmatch@bcsfoundation.com right away! We will note it in our records and will let you know when the gift arrives. Donations and matching gifts made through company websites often take 6-8 weeks to process before we are notified, and some take up to six months! If you let us know you initiated the donation, we won’t continue to send you requests for a gift (only periodic reminders if we don’t receive it from the company).




Can I donate by transfering stock or making a wire transfer?


Gifts of securities (stock) are warmly encouraged and can provide tax benefits to donors (please consult your tax attorney). To transfer securities visit www.bcsfoundation.com/stock-donations or email donations@bcsfoundation.com so we can recognize you and provide a tax receipt. For information regarding wire transfers, planned giving or other gifts, including gifts in kind, please call Elizabeth Gardner, Executive Director, at (650) 375-2196 or email elizabeth@bcsfoundation.com.




What is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)? Can I use my DAF to make a gift to the Foundation


A Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) is an account that holds and invests money set aside for charitable giving. The donor gets an immediate tax deduction when the funds are transferred to the DAF account instead of when each gift from that fund is made to a charity. The funds can be in cash, stock or other assets. The fund is held by a nonprofit, called a sponsoring organization, that invests the assets and manages the donor’s account. These sponsoring organizations are often community foundations and nonprofit arms of financial-services firms. Once a fund is established, donors tell the sponsoring organization which charities they’d like to donate to from their accounts. You should speak with a tax or financial expert about whether a Donor-Advised Fund is a good vehicle for your situation. The explanation above is not meant to serve as advice. Once you have a DAF, you can make a donation to the BCS Foundation by logging into your account and request that a grant be made for Bullis-Purissima Elementary School Foundation. Our Tax ID (also called an EIN number) is 48-1298690. If there is an option of whether or not to share your name and contact information with us, please do! That way we can attribute your gift to your record. (If you give anonymously, we get a check with no donor name and don’t know whom to thank!) You will not receive any goods or services for your donation. (They often ask about that.) The sponsoring organization sends us a check. For some, it comes in a few days. Others can take a few weeks. We’ll let you know when the check arrives. You would have received the tax deduction when you contributed to the DAF so our acknowledgement letter will not have the tax receipt footer on it.




With all the requests, like school supplies, performing arts and fieldtrips, I'm feeling a bit tapped out.


We can relate. Foundation volunteers are all parents and we face the same issues. This is one of the most expensive areas in which to live, work and raise kids. The cost of providing an excellent, well-rounded education for our kids has gone up everywhere. We understand that families give in many ways and to many causes. We recognize that these are difficult times, and many in our community are suffering financial hardships. And we would not ask for your support if it were not necessary for the Foundation and BCS to maintain and support our staff and academic programs in place. However, for this unique year, we do plan to recognize all families who give in the range of $5,000-$5,500 per student as “Fill-the-Gap Partner” contributors. Every dollar donated is valuable and for those families who can afford to give more, we ask for this increase in support. For those who cannot, we hope you will maintain your level of giving. Every gift to the Foundation makes an impact. We welcome and encourage gifts of any and all levels. We’d love to have as much of the whole community as possible supporting all of our BCS learners.





Organizational Questions

Why do you have that long name?


It’s a story that goes back to 2003 when both the school and the Foundation were founded… We were named after a now-closed LASD elementary school which was shortened over the years to “Bullis” or “Bullis Charter School”.




How do I get involved with the Foundation?


We are always looking for enthusiastic community members to serve on our Board or volunteer on the BCS Benefit committee. Email chair@bcsfoundation.com with any questions you might have or feel free to contact our co-chairs directly: Margarita Golod ( margarita@bcsfoundation.com) and Rachelle Mirkin ( rachelle@bcsfoundation.com).




What is the difference between the Foundation, the BBC and the BCS School Board?


Especially for new families coming to Bullis Charter School, those various "groups" and acronyms can be confusing. To start, you're on the BCS Foundation's website learning all about our mandate to raise critical funds for the annual operations of Bullis Charter School. The Bullis Boosters Club (BBC) is a parent led organization, primarily responsible for supporting students, staff and parents through school-based programs like Lunch, Library, Staff Lounge supplies, etc. They also organize community building events throughout the year such ad Fall Family Dinner, Principal Coffees and the Walk-a-thon. Learn more about the BBC here. The BCS School Board is the governing body for Bullis Charter School and oversees the school's administration, policies, strategic plan and budget. Learn more about the BCS School Board here. The BCS Foundation, the BBC and BCS School Board work hand-in-hand together throughout the year to serve our school community through our respective mandates. Depending on your skills and interest volunteering for one (or more!) of these great groups will prove an effective and inspiring way to support Bullis Charter School.





© 2019 by the Bullis- Purissima Elementary School Foundation

102 West Portola Avenue, Los Altos, California 94022

Tax identification number 48-1298690.