We had the opportunity to meet Leslie Adler, Executive Director at Culver City Education Foundation, based in Culver City, California. We wanted to share her story of how Culver City Education Foundation helps the community.
What does your company do and what is your role?
I’m the Executive Director of the Culver City Education Foundation. We raise money for the Culver City Unified School District with the purpose of enhancing and empowering students to have the best education as possible.
What about this nonprofit sparked your interest and made you want to work here?
I really wanted to make the Culver City schools they best that they can be. It’s a great school district. I actually had two kids that went through there and they were very successful. They’re in their careers now and I just love empowering the future generations and encouraging students.
What is a “typical day” like for you?
A typical day for me would start off going to a Chamber of Commerce breakfast around 7:30 a.m. to make connections. It’s a great chance to meet with Culver City businesses and discuss possible partnerships or find donors. After that, I would come back and have a meeting with the superintendent of the schools and talk about our goals and some of the needs. I work closely with the superintendent and assistant superintendent of educational services. Later, I’ll focus on returning emails – there are so many emails – and trying to always make that connection, thank my donors, set up partnerships, dealing with a lot of administration, and looking to see you can fund technology.
What has been your favorite moment at your job?
We just got approved to receive our third musical instrument grant in a matter of three years for the middle school and high school. It’s so helpful for these students who would never be able to have their hand on an instrument because they can’t afford to rent one. That’s the whole idea – that everybody should have and be able to learn how to play an instrument.
Our motto is “Every student. Every school. Every day.” so equality is very important to us and my board. The first time we received this grant, it was incredible to see the students’ faces and to see them play. Now, to find out we’re going to be having even more instruments and also help fund music lessons for those who don’t have extra money to have lessons so they can improve their skills with the instruments – it’s just incredible. It’s amazing to see it go from nothing to something.
Additionally, another initiative I kicked off was to raise funds for new marching band uniforms for our high school, which they hadn’t had in 16 years. They received them last year because I used the idea that now we have the instruments to have a marching band, so let’s get uniforms, and went out and empowered the people to help support this. Then, the district came in and helped us to raise over $40,000 in a short amount of time.
These are just a few of the stories that make me proud, especially since this is my second career. I felt like I wanted to do something to help others. I was in the clothing business and I think it’s great, but it’s a whole different thing to empower others.
How does technology help you do what you do?
I will say we don’t use technology nearly enough at our Foundation. I do not have the time or mainly my time is being spent on emails, checking to make sure things are being posted on Facebook by either me or the board. Social media isn’t my strong suit though. I just joined Instagram, so I’m trying to use all the different platforms out there to get the word out on what we do.
If you’d like to help enrich the lives of students, donate to the Culver City Education Foundation by clicking here.