Former Congressman and long time MDAEF supporter George Miller
and Founding President Alice Bonner
The Mt. Diablo Alternative Education Foundation was established in 2006 to serve students in alternative secondary programs in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $100,000 in grants to teachers and schools. In addition, the Foundation has given scholarships to over 150 students.
Knowing the needs of alternative education students and programs, and using the experience she had with the Martinez Education Foundation and the California Consortium of Education Foundations, Alice Bonner recruited a small team of interested educators and community members to get MDAEF off the ground in 2005. At the time, Alice was the Career/College Advisor at Olympic High School.
Don Nicolai, a long-time Olympic volunteer and recent Chevron retiree, completed the paperwork necessary for the Foundation to receive its non-profit status. Pete Tormey, an active Olympic volunteer who lived nearby, took on the role of Treasurer and was responsible for securing solid financial status for the group.
Early on, MDAEF set its mission to benefit students and programs of all alternative schools in MDUSD. Student scholarships, teacher grants, and special projects such as providing busing costs for students to visit DVC on High School Day have been core donations every year since it began.
The Foundation got a huge boost in its first year from Comcast, who chose Olympic as a school to target for major volunteer and monetary projects. MDAEF received $50,000 from Comcast.
The State of California cannot provide sufficient funding for all public school programs and services. For this reason, parents and community members raise substantial supplemental funds for students attending neighborhood high schools. Band Boosters, Athletic Boosters, Drama Supporters, and PTA are a sampling of the groups that often support local high schools.
Students in alternative programs, however, do not have these community booster groups. This is what the Foundation strives to do: fill the gap between what students and teachers need and what the State provides.
Teens in alternative high schools are at risk of not graduating due to many and varied reasons—homelessness, disillusionment, lack of family support, learning difficulties, behavioral issues, credit deficiencies, and substance abuse.
“Olympic is a school for kids who need a place where they get more attention. This makes kids know that the teachers care about them, and that makes them want to come to school.”
Bud Farthing, Class of 2003
Founding MDAEF Board Member
MDAEF Funds are used to:
Invest in Students
Invest in Teachers
Classroom materials and supplies
Hardware and software
Invest in Schools
Incentives and rewards