Question: Donation outside PTO for Child Advocacy

Our PTO converted from a PTA five years ago and on our budget we have a line item for child advocacy. Rumor has it that as a PTA we had to make outside donations, so we continue to budget and make a $5000 donation to an outside group each year now on behalf of our PTO. (We have been making the donation the past few years to Donors Choose - helping underserved students in our metropolitan area.) The current president is calling into question whether we NEED to do this any longer, and whether it is right to donate money to another non-profit cause by using our members money which they have donated to our schools. It makes the board "feel" good to make the donation to more needy students, however, the question is whether we HAVE to do this as it is believed we did as a PTA. Is it right for our PTO to make a charitable contribution to another group with donations from our members, or should those members be making that individual choice themselves. The donations do not even stay within our community. We cannot change this years budget, but will be getting ready to do 2011-2012 in early Spring and knowing this answer should help. The donation is not part of our by-laws, but rather something that has been handed down budget after budget without much discussion. Thank you for your thoughts -- Susan Shade

Asked by suz8888



Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:
Hi suz - A few answers for you. All good questions. 1. I suspect that even when you were a PTA, that donation was not a PTA requirement. I've never heard of a requirement like that from PTA. 2. Speaking for now, i can tell you that that donation is 100% your choice. You're not required to make it. The work your PTO does already is good work. 3. It's a very nice thing if you do choose to reach beyond your walls and help others. I'd recommend it be a group discussion each year. We've seen (more well-off) schools adopting (less well-off) "sister" schools, and that's a great thing, if your group decides to go that way. Why is it too late to change the budget this year? I bet even that is not entirely true. In any case, it's is 100% *not* true, that you are required in any way to make that outside donation. That's a call your group can make on its own each year. Tim

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