Previous fundraising efforts from the PTO involved reaching out to local businesses, PTO Fundraising Chair Allison Monroe said. Caldwell is unique among MISD’s schools, she said. It is the only dual-language campus in MISD and is also a Title 1 and Title 3 public school.
“[Caldwell] really, really struggles as a Title 1 [school] with being under-resourced,” Monroe said. “Schools on the west side, whose PTO and [Parent-Teacher Associations] bring in more than $100,000 in funding every year, are able to really supplement enrichment programs and resources for teachers and to have all of those tools and things available. But ... we’ve really struggled with that at Caldwell.”
About 62% of students during the 2021-22 school year at Caldwell were economically disadvantaged, according to data from the Texas Education Agency. Almost 40% of the students were English learners, and almost all students were Title 1 students, the 2021-22 data shows.
This presents a fundraising challenge, Monroe said, which the PTO addressed with a new campaign titled Raise Craze.
Starting Sept. 6 and going through Sept. 23, students were challenged with completing acts of kindness and getting sponsors.
During the fundraiser, students set up a Raise Craze account where they requested donations via email. During the fundraiser, students paid donations forward by completing acts of kindness for others, according to a news release.
“We're doing a whole month of community service, and our goal is to do 1,000 acts of kindness or community service projects,” Monroe said. “The kids can participate in this entire program without having to give money. They can win awards, and they can get incentives, and they can get the pizza party and the medals and all those things just by doing service.”
Students were provided with a list of activities they could choose from and participate in. They collected donations for local charities, made tissue flower gifts for residents at a local nursing home, wrote thank you notes to cafeteria workers and first responders, completed extra chores, picked up trash as Towne Lake, and more.
“To bring the whole community together around service has been incredibly rewarding,” Monroe said.
Last year the PTO met its $7,000 fundraising goal by participating in North Texas Giving Day, ultimately raising $8,250. This year, the PTO had a goal to raise $20,000. In the end it raised $23,600, with the majority of funds coming from within the Caldwell community, she said.
In addition, 1,837 acts of kindness were completed by Caldwell students, according to a news release.
The funds raised will go toward field trips for students; building an outdoor learning space in the campus’ courtyard; student enrichment programs, such as after-school programs; and teacher support and appreciation, Monroe said.
“It's really important for us that we make our teachers feel loved and appreciated, and that they also have all the things that they need on campus,” she said.
To contribute to Caldwell Elementary and to the PTO, visit www.caldwellptomckinney.org/get-involved.