Park City Education Foundation director selected for national council | ParkRecord.com

Park City Education Foundation director selected for national council

Abby McNulty, executive director of the Park City Education Foundation, is excited to learn from other education foundations as a member of the Industry Leadership Council of the National School Foundations Association.

Education foundations around the country help pay for school programs beyond public school systems' budgets. Abby McNulty, executive director of the Park City Education Foundation, was selected for the national team that plans to analyze the impact of those foundations.

McNulty, who has been serving in her role for 10 years, was chosen by the National School Foundation Association for the Industry Leadership Council earlier this month. After presenting at multiple conferences, McNulty was asked if she would join the council, which began this year. She is excited to collaborate and learn from other education foundations.

"It's an incredible opportunity for us and for me to learn best practices and what other ed foundations are doing that (is) exciting and making a difference," she said.

Plus, as the onlymember from Utah, she is excited to represent the state as well as Park City.

"When you have recognition outside of your community, it's an honor to say, 'You really are doing good work,'" she said. "It makes us feel like we are ahead of the curve, which is great."

The council, which meets via video chats, is trying to collect information about the impact education foundations have on their communities and the nation at large, McNulty said. It is starting with a survey to reveal what foundations are currently doing to gain attention for their efforts.

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The survey will include best practices, such as relationships with school districts and staff size. The council hopes to elevate the work of education foundations around the nation by gathering benchmark information.

McNulty said that education foundations have been around for about 30 years, but, as states lose education funding, they are becoming increasingly necessary. Public schools do not always have the money to provide important offerings for students, such as art programs, reading aides and physical education instructors. The National School Foundation Association wants to show that necessity through data.

The 43 members representing different foundations come from a mix of communities, she said. Some are rural, some are suburban and some are in cities. But they can each learn from each other.

"It's not a one-size-fits-all, but the opportunity to be able to collaborate with people and think big is going to benefit our community," she said. "And the opportunity to connect with people in similar ed foundations — similar demographics, similar size of community — that's really exciting."

McNulty's experience mostly comes from public policy and nonprofit management. She accepted a position at the Park City Education Foundation because she wanted to make a difference, and she believes that being a member of the council will only benefit Park City.

"Everyone has an interest in strong schools because it's good for our community, good for our home values and good for homes and families," she said.