Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



What is the Foundation? Why and when did it start?

In 2009-2011, during planning for a new school building that would replace the existing outdated Seven Locks building, there was a strong interest in having the new building reflect the school’s unique C&O Canal history both on the exterior as well as through interior design features. Purchasing and installing the items, such as historic photos, educational posters, and maps suggested by the National Park Service for the main hallway meant funds would need to be raised. MCPS required the establishment of a Foundation in order to fundraise and proceed with these kinds of purchases. Further, MCPS suggested that a Foundation could additionally provide a vehicle for future funding of capital and staff development, along the lines of what had already been done by neighboring schools such as Carderock Springs Elementary School, that could not be provided by MCPS or any other entity. In 2012, the Foundation was formally incorporated, just in time to coincide with the opening of the new school building. Since that time, the Foundation has focused on supporting academic excellence, primarily through funding of long term capital, staff, and technological improvements, and reaching out to the wider community. The Foundation is a 503(c)(3) non-profit organization run by an all-volunteer board which includes parents, staff, and community members. Both the PTA president and the principal serve on its board.

I’ve already donated to the PTA. Should I donate to the Foundation?

Yes! While the PTA’s mission and scope is closely aligned with its parent organizations (the national, state, and county PTAs), whose primary purpose is advocacy and year-to-year programming that foster parent-school engagement, the Foundation’s mission and scope both complement and extend the PTA’s mission. While the PTA raises funds each year that are intended to fund activities limited to the same academic year (accumulation of funds is discouraged), the Foundation is primarily focused on promoting academic excellence for the unique student community at Seven Locks Elementary School through longer-term projects that go beyond the year-to year programs of the PTA. For example, the Foundation may improve the learning environment through funding capital, material (technology, books), or other school needs. The Foundation is also afforded wider latitude in fundraising as well.

While the Foundation is separate from the PTA and the school, both the PTA and the school support its mission and all serve complementary roles, committed to providing excellence to the educational experience at Seven Locks. In fact, both the principal of the school and the current PTA president sit as voting members of the Foundation board. In addition, when reserves are available, the PTA may use those funds to help support Foundation priorities.

Why should I support the Foundation?

The Foundation helps to support Seven Locks Elementary School and its staff to meet the unique needs of is community and students. While MCPS provides for basic services that are generally uniform across schools, all schools, including Seven Locks, have unique needs that can be better identified and served locally. Your support is completely voluntary and does not in any way affect the services your child receives at the school. However, any support you do give will directly benefit the school and all its students and best of all is tax-deductible. 100% of your donation goes directly to the school as the Foundation is guided by an all-volunteer group of parents, staff, and community members interested in identifying and funding projects that will make Seven Locks a first-rate learning environment, which is not only an obvious benefit for its students, but also makes Seven Locks a great asset to the surrounding community.

How does the Foundation fund its projects?

The Foundation holds an annual fundraiser social and auction called the Spring Fling. It also solicits grants and coordinates resources (such as through the Montgomery County RainScapes or with the National Park Service) where appropriate. However, primarily, the Foundation depends on donations from individuals (like you!) and organizations both within and outside the school community.

Who serves on the Foundation? How long do they serve? How are they nominated?

The composition of the Board of Directors reflects the neighborhoods and grades found in the communities served by Seven Locks Elementary School. There are currently 9 voting directors, including current or former parents of Seven Locks students, the current PTA president, as well as the school principal. Board members typically serve from one to three years. They are nominated by a nominating committee, which prioritizes candidates with committed volunteer experience, or experience in fundraising and/or educational issues.

How often do they meet? What do they do at their meetings?

Board members meet once a month during the school year and at a planning meeting in the summer. In addition to coordinating efforts to raise funds and communicate, they also vote to fund specific projects. Meeting minutes and budget/financial reports are located at the front office and are available for viewing by the general public upon request.

How does the Foundation report to the community? What if I have a question or a suggestion?

The Foundation reports to the community primarily through this website, and periodically through the POL and school-wide events. All questions or suggestions can be directed to info@slesef.org or feel free to contact any board member directly.