Vanderlyn PTO Annual Fund FAQs


Every Student Counts. Every Gift Matters. 



The Vanderlyn PTO Annual Fund Campaign is a one-time appeal for financial contributions.  The PTO uses the donations to enhance the award-winning educational experience of every Vanderlyn student and faculty member. Instead of hosting multiple time consuming fund raisers, we ask that each family write one check, one time to support the mission of the Vanderlyn PTO.


Why an Annual Fund?

A survey of Vanderlyn parents in spring 2009 showed parents strongly prefer making a financial contribution directly to the school’s PTO instead of participating in multiple fundraising activities throughout the school year. The Vanderlyn PTO responded to what parents wanted, and the “One-Check, One-Time” Annual Fund is the result.


How is the Annual Fund money used?

The PTO uses the Annual Fund to support a variety of initiatives. In recent years, the PTO has invested in Media Center upgrades, playground repairs and enhancements, flexible seating for classrooms, whiteboard resurfacing, and upgrades to the teacher's lounge. We also fund the following:

  • Stipends of $300 per school year for each teacher to purchase necessary classroom materials
  • Visiting author and illustrator 
  • Teacher Training - The PTO designates funds for teacher training to support our teachers in their professional growth.
  • Field trips - The Annual Fund pays for the difference between parent donations for field trips and actual costs of those trips.
  • Academic competitions - Math Olympiad, Science Olympiad, Academic Bowl, Math Competition at Kittredge & Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl
  • Teaching Gardens
  • Passport Around the World
  • Field Day
  • Grade level musical productions 
  • Book Fairs
  • VanderDash
  • Teacher and Staff Appreciation lunches, breakfasts, birthday treats and recognition throughout the school year
  • Faculty Holiday and End of the Year gifts
  • Awards Day


I already pay school property taxes. Why should I donate to the Annual Fund?

Annual Fund donations are essential to deliver the high-quality programs and activities at Vanderlyn that would not otherwise be possible. Financial contributions by Vanderlyn parents fill the educational gap caused by inadequate county funding. The school system spends $28 annually on every DeKalb elementary school student; Vanderlyn parents generously provide substantially more financial support per student. This additional parental support is a key reason Vanderlyn is consistently ranked among the country’s top elementary schools.


Why doesn’t the PTO sell products like other schools?

When you give to the Vanderlyn PTO Annual Fund, ALL of the money goes directly to the PTO. When students and parents sell items such as gift-wrap, the fundraising company takes a significant cut of the profits.


Is 100% participation by parents important?

Yes. One hundred percent participation in the Annual Fund shows our commitment to the school, its teachers and staff, and our children. While donations differ in size, each donation has the same impact on participation.


How do I know how much to give?

There is no set rule as to exactly how much to give. We only ask that each family give the best donation they can to the Annual Fund. If only $180 is given per family, PTO can meet or exceed our fundraising goal for this year and pay for all the programs and services provided to our children. All contributions are kept confidential.


I can’t give very much. Should I still make a donation?

Yes. All financial donations to the PTO’s Annual Fund make a difference. We know that every family’s financial situation is unique.


Who can donate to the Annual Fund?

Anyone can donate to the Annual Fund…parents, grandparents, other family members, neighbors, friends. Even Vanderlyn alumni! Every donation counts, and every donation is appreciated.


Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes. Vanderlyn Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, INC., is classified as a public charity and has been granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Our tax ID number is 46-5137968. Your donation is fully tax-deductible as provided by law. No goods, gifts or services of any value will be received in connection with this donation.   


Does my donation qualify for Corporate Matching?

Many corporations have matching programs for their employees, retirees, and board members that will double and in some cases triple the portion of your donation. This extra support is very much appreciated. Contact your employer to determine if they will match your donation and to find out the guidelines for obtaining matching funds.


 How do I make a gift to the Annual Fund?

Giving to the Annual Fund is easy. Fill out your Annual Fund form on the OPEN FORMS page, and you can make an online payment using your debit card or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover). 


If Vanderlyn has a One-Check One-Time philosophy, why do we also raise money through VanderDash and Merchant Rebates?

The answer is simple…the more we raise, the more we can do to improve our school. Every year, the Annual Fund supports all of the programs included in our budget. Excess VanderDash and Merchant Rebates funds go towards “wish list” items. These are extra items or programs that fall outside of the regular operating budget. At Vanderlyn, it is very important to strive to raise enough money to cover our budgeted items as well as wish list items.


Are spirit nights part of the Annual Fund? Why should I attend them?

The local restaurants that we partner with provide us with a portion of their sales for the night. 100% of that money goes directly into the PTO's Annual Fund. Yes, you should attend. They are a great way to bring the Vanderlyn family together!


Questions? Email us at: