Williston Wins test new model for school fundraising

Oct. 6, 2011

By Adam White

Observer staff

Children and parents alike are typically less than thrilled with the traditional, door-to-door method of fundraising for school activities. But the new “Williston Wins” initiative hopes to make that a thing of the past.

Following a national trend that is changing the way schools raise money, Williston’s Families As Partners (FAP) organization adopted Williston Wins this year as a simpler and more effective capital campaign. With two weeks left in its inaugural run, Williston Wins has collected nearly $15,000 — which puts the program 38 percent of the way to its goal of $40,000.

“It’s a terrific way of simplifying fundraising,” said organizer Ann Schmidt, a Williston Central School Voyager House representative to the FAP. “In the past, we always had these crazy little fundraisers where a third party comes in, and the kids are sent out into the street to sell things like wrapping paper. The idea was to streamline the process for kids in Williston, and the response has been great.”

The concept behind Williston Wins is fairly straightforward: Parents are asked to make a $40, tax-deductible donation for each student they have in the school system, purely on a voluntary basis. The result is that younger students in lower houses (EEE-4) won’t be required to fundraise at all, and mid-year monetary requests for things like field trips and other house activities will be limited, if not eliminated.

“You can write your check, and release that deep breath,” Schmidt said. “You’re not going to be asked for money throughout the year.”

Schmidt said that some of the more popular and traditional fundraising efforts, such as the big basket raffle and craft fair, will still take place in addition to Williston Wins.

“These are events that reach out beyond families with kids in our school system and really invite everyone in Williston to join,” Schmidt said. “We don’t foresee ending those programs.”

Schmidt said that even if Williston Wins does not reach its goal this year, it will not negatively impact any of the town’s schoolchildren. She said a recent spike in donations has organizers optimistic about the program moving forward.

“We’ve really seen a peak this week in terms of checks coming in,” Schmidt said. “The final result will tell us if the community wants to embrace this model, or go back to the old way of fundraising.”

Any Williston resident with questions about the Williston Wins program can submit them to Liz Neeld, FAP Chair, via email at