Asheville City Schools Foundation Mobilizing community support for student success

Staff at the Asheville City Schools Foundation (ACSF) bring a unique focus, energy and sense of urgency to the task of engaging students, teachers, parents, and the entire community in building strong public schools for the City of Asheville. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has supported the mission and work of ACSF since 2009.

Founded in 1988, ACSF mobilizes the community to support public education through advocacy, capacity-building and direct service to children. The organization also has an impressive track record of maintaining a strong partnership with the school district and collaborating with individual schools and teachers in order to help develop an array of academic offerings that will result in graduating well-rounded students who are prepared to be successful in life. With support from ZSR, ACSF has made fellowships possible for 70 of the school system's best teachers, thereby improving learning for thousands of students.

The next few years will be pivotal for public education and the ACSF. "It is imperative that we continue to inform and engage the community in supporting great public schools that are accessible to all children in Asheville," says Kate Pett, Executive Director of ACSF.

"ACSF demonstrates a strong commitment to understanding and responding to the needs of its community," says Natalie Blake, Associate Program Officer for Education at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. "After building deliberate relationships to understand the community’s needs, ACSF partners with the school district to provide a network of professional and community supports to assure parents that their child gets the instruction and attention needed to be successful in school and life. It does incredible work keeping the community informed and engaged."

Current funding from ZSR supports the capacity of ACSF to work locally and with other partners across the state to identify challenges facing public schools and present innovative solutions. This work includes participation in statewide coalitions to voice the needs of children and teachers. Locally, ACSF supports Asheville City Schools by seeking new resources to fill gaps created by budget cuts.

"We still have a lot of work to do, but we are confident that the great educational legacy that North Carolina has maintained in the past will not be lost," Pett stated. "We are grateful for the continued investment of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation which helps to ensure that we can continue the good work initiated and build a broader base of community support to meet the challenges ahead."