Who We Are
CAFf is our shorthand for Community Alumni and Friends for Van Buren Public Schools. We are a nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Michigan serving the Van Buren Public School district (VBPS), which includes the communities of Van Buren Township and Belleville, as well as portions of Romulus, Sumpter, Canton, and Ypsilanti Township.
Our mission is to support the educational goals of the Van Buren Public School district. Our goal is to establish a permanent endowment that will contribute to the district's educational mission in perpetuity. This means funding public education for good.
Why School Funding Needs Your Help
At a community level, school district’s hands are—by state law—tied when it comes to raising funds for operating expenses. While you may have noticed several millages in the last few years, milleaged funds can only be used for construction projects, like a new school, not the day-to-day expenses of paying teachers’ salaries, funding extracurricular programs, or buying supplies for the classroom. The operating expenses are the ones that allow education to function and make school more than just a building. Without a reliable external source of funding, the district can be forced to make undesirable cuts to vital programming and staffing when operations needs arise.
At the state level, a school district is even more tightly constrained, and its voice can be even weaker. While our politicians on every side grandstand over education and education funding, the situation seldom seems to improve, and stalemates over taxes routinely cut their way into education funding. Whether these cuts limit building repairs or require the buyout of some of our most talented, most experienced teachers, it is clear that the district needs an education-funding solution that is committed, dependable, and supported by the community. The schools need a solution that is independent of state funds—because education is important whether the budget is tight or not.
We are a district with a proud history, a record of excellence, and a moment of decision on the horizon. CAFf is about the community, alumni, and friends of the district coming together to support Van Buren Public Schools’ educational mission and to help our teachers and administrators have the funding they need to do their jobs.
How You Can Help
Recognizing these difficulties, CAFf was founded to leverage some of our district’s strengths. While our district isn’t the wealthiest, we do have a long history and a demonstrated commitment to excellence in education. Because of our history and our community spirit, the district of Van Buren is an excellent candidate for a fundraising instrument called an endowment. In donating to an endowment, you increase the value of your gift over the course of time. For more information about endowments, click here. For donation information, click here.
CAFf was formally founded in November, 2005 by a team of Belleville alumni and volunteers, and was declared a 501(c)(3) by the IRS in January of 2007.