In 2021, Michelle Gilmore returned to Coronado Schools Foundation. Bringing more than 20 years of non-profit experience to the role, Gilmore, a Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) parent, local resident and active volunteer in the community, took on the role of CEO and President. Michelle, who worked as Director of Development for CSF from 2014 to 2018, returned after three years working as Senior Development Director for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation where she increased single event net revenue from $74,000 to $325,000 in just one year.
She also co-authored an award-winning book, Eventology, the Science Behind Non-Profit Fundraising, which became an Amazon bestseller in 2019. Michelle will be releasing an updated version that focuses on fundraising in a post pandemic world. She describes, “There is a new layer of best practices for less money. We can get a message out without always having to have a big party. Supporters are more willing to contribute online which is impactful for charities all over.”
Returning to Coronado Schools Foundation
Now in 2023, Michelle shares that the transition back into CSF was not what she had expected. She says, “It was surprising. I couldn’t jump into the chair and start implementing right away. There were new hurdles and a gray cloud over the school board.” Michelle does not spend time discussing the details of her hurdles, instead she puts all of her energy into focusing on the very bright future at CSF! Her experience overall has been, “interesting, challenging, fun, and adventurous.”
In particular, Michelle highlights the Coronado Middle School Robotics Teams which are fully funded by CSF. The team competed in the Southern California Regionals Tournament the weekend of December 2nd, 2022. With forty teams competing, CMS had five teams compete at First Lego League Southern California Regionals. There, they won four awards with two teams moving on to the Southern California Championships at UC Riverside!
Michelle points out CSF’s funding of the performing arts. “I love seeing the band and choir pathway that has been established from elementary school to high school. There are new classes. The CMS choir and band were always good, now they are exceptional with a consistent program. The pathway is critically important.”
She adds, “What I love about CSF is it sparks an interest. A passion in something [the students] may not know that they love. They find music, or digital media at the high school, and it’s remarkable.” Michelle rattles off a few of the more advanced accomplishments at the high school, “there is 3D printing, animation, focus on sustainability.”
Looking Forward to Basic Aid
While Michelle is very proud of what is currently happening, she is excited for what CSF will be able to accomplish when CUSD switches over to basic aid (discussed below). With more revenue being funneled into the Coronado Unified School District, the district will be able to fund the programs that students have come to love and expect – fine arts, band, choir, performing arts, STEM, and so forth. Opening CSF up to shoot for the stars, “We will be able to fund more exciting things like aeronautical engineering, a field of classes in cyber security, more experience-based classes, bring it to a new level!”
In the September 2022 CUSD Update mentions the basic aid funding transition:
Deputy District Superintendent Donnie Salamanca shared that his team was tasked with creating a budget plan that demonstrates “a reserve spend-down ensuring student access to programs, resources and curricula aligned with the CUSD mission statement.” He said that CUSD’s planned spend down is a means to an end as the district transitions to basic aid, funded by local property taxes. CUSD will likely receive approximately $8-10 million more additional revenues once it transitions to basic aid, which will occur around 2027-2028, according to Salamanca.
Michelle is a Queen of the Crown City – she inspires everyone around her to think big, act big, all on behalf of the Coronado children and teenagers.
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