Written by The Business Journal Staff
Board President – The Foundation @ FCOE
Title: Board President
What you do: Provide leadership for the new fundraising arm of The Fresno County Office of Education
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Family: Married; 4 adult children; 5 grandchildren
How did you come to your position with The Foundation @ FCOE, Linzie?
Having known County Superintendent of Schools Larry L. Powell for years, I was pleased to be appointed by him to the position as board president of the newly established 501(c)(3) non-profit.
What was the need for establishing The Foundation @ FCOE, Linzie?
Now more than ever there is a need to find supplemental resources for preserving excellence in our schools as school districts are being asked to raise standards and improve student outcomes while attempting to absorb deep cuts in funding.
What is the mission of The Foundation @ FCOE, Linzie?
We strive to support the 195,000 K-12 students of Fresno County by providing exemplary educational programs and services through a shared community responsibility. Guided by the belief that education is preparation for life, The Foundation @ FCOE pledges to promote excellence, access and innovation in education for all students.
How does the foundation secure grants and funding, Linzie?
The Foundation receives gifts of cash donations as well as stocks, bonds and other securities. Business leaders might consider sponsoring one of more than 40 educational events or programs or providing an in-kind gift of goods or services as a powerful way to associate their company’s name with academic student competitions. Contributors interested in leaving a legacy for students can do so through bequests by will or other planned giving options. And, next year, we’ll invite membership for corporate and business contributors who have an interest in partnering with Superintendent Powell in supporting students through a program called The Superintendent’s Society.
What impact has the foundation had so far, Linzie?
The Foundation @ FCOE exists to call attention to school needs, to solicit tax-free gifts from private sources and to use those donations for programs, activities and improvements beyond the scope of school tax dollars. The first public activity of the new Foundation was to thank past contributors to FCOE. In doing so, we created a formal recognition program.
How strongly have budget cuts affected the funding of certain programs and services, Linzie?
Our schools face uncertain times because of budget uncertainties. We are trying to bring fiscal predictability to our schools. Now more than ever our schools need community philanthropy.
What are some other challenges schools are facing right now, Linzie?
Rapid educational reform measures, increasing legislation, mid-year cuts to funding and more, make the business of education a challenge for our leaders.
How would Fresno County have benefited from the federal Race to the Top funding, Linzie?
Local school leaders would have been able to finance some educational reform measures. As it is, many of the reform efforts our schools willingly embrace will need to be implemented over a longer time period now.
What kinds of efforts are being made to infuse schools with more computers and tech-based learning, Linzie?
The Fresno County Office of Education provides leadership to our 34 districts and charter schools in the areas of technology infrastructure and the use of technology for instruction. A few of our county districts have wonderful business partnerships and grant funded programs that provide computers and tech-based learning opportunities for our students. The Foundation @ FCOE can be a conduit for technology access opportunities for our large and small county schools.
What does the future hold for The Foundation @ FCOE, Linzie?
The Board of Directors has established a goal to build an endowment fund of $5 million dollars whereby the principal is maintained intact and invested to create a source of income to support regular student programs for the Fresno County Office of Education. I have great faith in the anticipated community response to our call to action.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Linzie?
My first job was selling Fresno Bee Newspapers at nine (9) years of age. It taught me the value of money and the importance of financial independence. At that tender age, having my own money was a good feeling.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I build rod iron fences, gates and structures. I also am an avid football/sports fan.