EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
Marble Falls Independent School District is educating local businesses and residents about questionable fundraisers claiming to be on behalf of the schools.
“They’re just scams, some of them,” said Pam Parkman, executive director of the Marble Falls Education Foundation, which partners with the district in fundraising endeavors.
Parkman regularly fields phone calls from businesses regarding people approaching them about a “school district fundraiser.”
But not all of these are district-approved.
“I tell our businesses that if someone calls them saying they’re raising money or having a fundraiser benefiting the schools, go ahead and call us to verify,” Parkman said. “The campuses each submit a list to (the district office) with the fundraisers they have, and we can verify who’s doing what.”
In a recent so-called fundraiser, a person contacted business owners about contributing money toward T-shirts with a Mustang logo on the front and the business’ name on the back that would then go to students participating in school organizations or activities.
However, Parkman said, the number of T-shirts being made is paltry compared to the amount of money the businesses have donated. Also, the district will not issue those T-shirts to a school organization because officials do not want to endorse the fundraiser.
“Superintendent (Chris) Allen and I, we take (the T-shirts) to the (donating) business and give them to them, and we let them do what they want with the (T-shirts or other merchandise),” Parkman said. “But we can’t hand them out or use them. It’s unfortunate that people are targeting our businesses.”
Some of these unofficial fundraisers and outright scams make thousands of dollars off of unsuspecting donors, Parkman added. One solicitor contacting businesses used a high school teacher’s name and the program with which he was affiliated to entice donations. That person has even called back the same businesses to report that donations have been slim and asked if the businesses would be willing to donate more money.
If the district sees any of the funds raised, it’s a small percentage of the donation.
Some of these fundraisers seem legitimate because they are tied to a well-known business. According to Parkman, Superintendent Allen was picking up something to eat at a nationally franchised fast food restaurant one day in Marble Falls. The person taking his order asked if he wanted to make a donation to a scholarship fund for Marble Falls students.
Allen was unaware of any partnership between the district and the restaurant chain, so he asked a few questions of the employee then took the information to Parkman and asked her to look into it.
What Parkman learned was the restaurant accepted donations for a scholarship fund, but the money was pooled together at the corporate level. Then, students from across the country could apply for a scholarship through the fund. However, Parkman said, the money was not earmarked for Marble Falls ISD students.
“So the money doesn’t stay here for our students,” she said.
In the end, Parkman recommends individuals and businesses contact the MFISD Central Office or their child’s campus with questions about a fundraiser.
“We’re blessed with such a generous community, and we don’t want people to take advantage of them,” Parkman added. “Just call us and ask.”
The MFISD Central Office number is 830-693-4357.