By Tim Priebe
November 15, 2022

Supporting Edmond students beyond public funding

EPS Foundation CEO Deanna Boston leads the organization to provide additional opportunities and programs for students.
The Edmond Public Schools Foundation serves all 25,000 students in the Edmond public school system. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

The Edmond Public Schools Foundation serves the students of Edmond Public Schools through strategic focus areas, including mental health support for students, the Art in Schools program, classroom support through DonorsChoose, educator professional development, a Student Ambassador program, and community mobilization.  

Foundation history

Originally founded as the Edmond Educational Endowment, which changed to Edmond Public Schools Foundation in 1999, the organization was created in the early 1980′s by a group of parents as one of the first education foundations in the state of Oklahoma.

The original founders met in their living room and organized a group of parents to address funding gaps for classroom needs. In addition to meeting immediate needs, they planned for long-term sustainability by creating an endowment, a key focus area of the current strategic plan almost 40 years later.  

“We seek out community partners to support our mission through donations, volunteerism, and board service,” said Edmond Public Schools Foundation CEO Deanna Boston. “We have a small staff of three employees working to meet the needs of the third largest district in the state, and we need the community to join us in supporting our schools!”

Program needs are identified by the Edmond Public Schools district and presented to the Foundation through the strategic planning process. The Foundation board of directors then works through the planning process to determine which needs can be adopted by the Foundation. The district and Foundation proceed with a collaborative working relationship to allow the Foundation to make informed decisions and create maximum impact for students.

Just ten years ago, community support totaled $229,213, and a year before that, $37,870. This past school year, the Foundation secured $1.1 million to support Edmond Public Schools through a multitude of programs. 

“It truly takes a village, and the unique business model of nonprofits relies on the community to give freely of their time, talent and treasure,” said Boston. “The return on their investment is seeing the impact and results of their generosity and feeling like they are part of something bigger than themselves.“ 

Leading with purpose

Boston has served as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer since 2019 and has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management.

CEO Deanna Boston leads a three-person team to identify student needs and secure community funding. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

“Although working in the nonprofit profession was not something I knew about in my formative years, I do remember always volunteering and fundraising for causes I felt passionate about at that young age,” said Boston. “I turned my desire to help others into a career in nonprofit management.”

Boston has led organizations as a nonprofit executive, university guest lecturer, facilitator, and consultant in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Alabama, and Washington, D.C. She has a master’s in nonprofit management, holds the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential, and is currently working on completing the Certified Education Foundation Leader (CEFL) certification.

“I attended public schools and believe public schools are the cornerstone of a strong community,” said Boston. “Making sure public education is supported, so our community is strong, is why I chose to work for Edmond Public Schools Foundation.”  

Boston’s son has attended Edmond Public Schools since kindergarten. When the opportunity arose to support the cause, Boston knew it was a way she could utilize her nonprofit management skills and give back to public education. 

“Working at Edmond Public Schools Foundation provides me the opportunity to admire teachers up close and interact with students through our Student Ambassador program as they are on their journey to who they are meant to become,” said Boston. “I truly love the opportunity to support educators and interact with students.”

Community impact

A core value of the Edmond Public Schools Foundation is collaboration. The organization collaborates closely with the Edmond Public Schools and their district staff but also with several other groups in the community, including: 

  • Edmond Fine Arts Institute to promote and support the Art in Schools program.
  • Edmond Chamber of Commerce for Leadership Edmond K12 Day and Edmond Young Professionals to provide mentor opportunities for the Student Ambassador program.
  • City of Edmond to coordinate the Edmond Community Fair and advocate for Edmond Public Schools programming
  • University of Central Oklahoma and University of Oklahoma to recruit interns and mentor nonprofit management students
  • Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and the Oklahoma Schools Foundation Network to share best practices with other Education Foundation leaders throughout the state 
  • Oklahoma State School Board Association to present at their conference and share information about school foundations

Community members can get involved with the Edmond Public Schools Foundation by volunteering in the organization’s office or at events, serving on the board, and donating to support programs that directly impact students. 

“What a great way to greet the day, knowing that what you do is truly impacting children in the community,” said Boston. “The days that we go into the schools and witness first-hand how community support is truly impacting students is what drives us to find more support for these deserving students.”

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.