In 1982, California’s school system experienced major budget deficits. Classes long considered foundational to K-12 education – classes like art, music, home ec, workshop, and even PE – were being cut from classroom instruction.
In response, a group of local educators, business leaders, parents, and community activists gathered to devise their own funding solutions for Petaluma area schools. The outcome was the creation of the Petaluma Educational Foundation (PEF), a privately funded, non-profit organization committed to creating diverse, creative, and impactful education opportunities for our city’s youth.
Today, PEF supports more than 13,000 students annually across 38 K-12 public, private, and charter schools. Join us and become part of the PEF legacy supporting the students of yesterday, today, and tomorrow to build a brighter future for generations to come.
FUND FUTURE IMPACT GRANTS Scholarship Program Create your Legacy
PEF’s vision is to create impactful educational opportunities for all students in our community.
PEF’s mission is to fund programs that promote critical thinking, creativity, student well-being, and lifelong learning. We work closely with public, private, and charter schools throughout our district to craft impact grants and promote scholarships that align with PEF’s goals, while taking into account each school’s and each student’s unique needs.
Petaluma Educational Foundation incorporated September 30, 1982.
PEF files first 990 Tax Return, Gross Receipts = $20,377; PEF Logo Contest winner announced: Jim Balshaw, Casa Grande High School.
First PEF Grants: $18,000 awarded in “mini-grants” – limit $500
PEF Mission expanded to include all public, private, and not-for-profit schools, adding St Vincent’s schools as campuses benefiting from the mission of PEF.
First PEF Scholarships were awarded in the amount of $12,350. This same year, Invest in Education was launched to raise funding for PEF Grants for schools.
The Henris Family endowment established
Alphabet Soup Benefit Thrift Stores opens as a joint venture with PEF and Petaluma Boys & Girls Club. In 2009 PEF assumes sole ownership of the retail thrift operation
Travelling Lantern Theater Co. begins partnership with PEF to bring live theater performances to local schools
MacIlvain Scholarship was established with a $1,000,000 gift from Petaluma High School teacher, Shirley MacIlvain
Arnold Scott's estate leaves $800,000 to PEF to establish scholarships for Casa Grande High & Petaluma High graduates
The BASH celebrates $1,000,000 given to schools through the annual PEF Impact Grant Program
The annual PEF Grant award is increased to up to $15,000 per grant
PEF launches T.E.C. Initiative to bring innovative technology resources into the classroom
Milestones of $2,000,000 awarded through PEF grants and $2,000,000 in scholarships reached
PEF launches an annual Partners in Education program, welcoming Clover Sonoma, Petaluma Market, and Wells Fargo as $30,000 sponsors who are celebrated all year long for their contribution to local education through PEF
The annual PEF Partners in Education program now includes the Petaluma Health Care District.
The PEF Board Member Bus Tour becomes an annual tradition to visit our grants in action and hear directly from educators and students about the impact of their PEF grant on their campus
When COVID impacted how students accessed education, PEF adapted to the challenge by shifting our grant funding for one year to provide Technology (access & devices) and Social-Emotional Learning resources for all our schools with grants up to $5,000
PEF returns to our $15,000 per grant award model, but to support the ongoing challenges of COVID, we offered two separate grant rounds during the academic year
PEF turns 40! Petaluma Educational Foundation has been Putting Education First for four decades
Awarded $262,826 in PEF scholarships to the Class of 2022, our highest total in the 32 years since
PEF returns to our traditional Impact Grant model of funding all academic focus areas with grants up to $15,000
PEF has awarded more than $8.4 million to our students and schools through the mission of PEF
Exchange Bank joins the annual $30,000 PEF Partners in Education program, supporting all area students and schools every day of the year
Our community partners place education at the top of their philanthropic passions. That’s why they work with PEF to ensure that their generous donations have the greatest impact on Petaluma’s schools and students. To learn more about how your organization can support local education initiatives and help fund our community’s future, please click the button below to contact us.