"The Little Foundation That Could!" That certainly describes the Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education.

From its humble beginning in 2007 and the creativity of a few enterprising and hardworking parents, the Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education has grown into one of our city's most prominent organizations. FPHE is now a thriving foundation that generates tens of thousands of dollars each year to support Pleasant Hill schools and the students they serve.

The FPHE's mission is simple: It shall work in partnership with our local community to enhance the quality of education and provide enrichment opportunities for students in Pleasant Hill public schools. And that's exactly what they've done!

Their mission was one of my inspirations for starting the Pleasant Hill Education Initiative. Along with the city's Education Commission, FPHE has brought a new awareness to our local schools and how we as a community can make them better.

Started five years ago by members of our Education Commission and concerned parents, this volunteer effort has grown into an organization of more than 1,600 members.

Since its formal creation in 2008, the foundation has raised some $150,000 for local schools. Every public school serving Pleasant Hill students has benefited from its grant program.

The grants have been used to improve technology, provide books, organize workshops, and help music programs, to name a few. Here's a sample of what teachers, principals, and donors have said about the foundation's grants program.


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An elementary schoolteacher said: "Your grant of $1,000 was very appreciated. The document camera (we purchased with the grant) will be a great addition to my teaching. I am really looking forward to the advantages it will allow me to share with my students."

A school principal added: "I can't thank you enough for all of the help and support we received this year from the FPHE. The foundation is doing such incredible work to help the schools in Pleasant Hill. I know how much the teachers appreciate all you do."

And a longtime donor commented: "It is fabulous to live in a community which is able to come together in support of our schools. Thank you to the board for their hard work and leadership."

The foundation raises money primarily through its annual campaign. It also raises money and increases community awareness of education by putting on some really fun events, including an annual Spelling Bee, Dine Out for Education, Restaurant Walks, and A Night of Improv.

The foundation received the 2009 Mayor's Award in recognition of the positive impact it has on our community.

Like any good organization, the foundation is not resting on its laurels. This year's annual campaign hopes to raise $60,000 for ours schools and our kids.

If you haven't already donated, or would like to donate again, please visit their website at fphe.org and click on the "Donate Now" link. That's what hundreds of Pleasant Hill households have already done. Please join them in supporting this worthwhile endeavor.

The hardworking board of directors and other dedicated supporters are developing additional programs to benefit our students. Plans for the future include more support for vital "STEM" education. Our country is far behind others in training our students in science, technology, engineering and math, crucial skills necessary for success in the 21st century.

In celebration of their success and their ongoing efforts to support Pleasant Hill schools, the foundation will be holding a fifth-anniversary party the evening of Saturday, April 20. This event is both a fundraiser and a dance party featuring the rock 'n' roll music of FOG 5. Sounds like lots of fun!

The foundation's second annual "Amazing Race of Pleasant Hill" will be held Sunday, April 28. You can get more information about both events and tickets at the foundation's website.

As mayor, I'm pleased to say that the foundation and its leaders have partnered with the Pleasant Hill Education Initiative, the community's multiyear volunteer effort to enhance educational opportunities for Pleasant Hill students.

As a resident, I have long supported the foundation's efforts on behalf of our students.

Please join me in congratulating the Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education on the occasion of its fifth anniversary. Our city, our schools, and our kids have benefited greatly from their dedication and passion for education.

The Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education truly is "The Little Foundation That Could!"

Harris is the mayor of Pleasant Hill. Email him at columns@bayareanewsgroup.com.