FAQ

Have questions? Learn about the San Francisco Education Fund’s services and how you can partner with us.

What does the San Francisco Education Fund do?

The San Francisco Education Fund harnesses the power of the local community to give public school students, particularly those from underserved communities, the support they need to succeed. We do this by providing volunteers, educator grants, scholarships and school-company partnerships.

We focus on helping students reach three critical milestones on the path to college:

  • Reading proficiently by the third grade
  • Performing at grade level in mathematics by the eighth grade
  • Graduating from high school prepared for college and career

Find out more about our programs.

Where does the San Francisco Education Fund provide its services?

While the Education Fund’s volunteers dedicate time in schools throughout the San Francisco Unified School District, we work most deeply in a set of high-need schools we call “Focus Schools.” Find out more about our Focus Schools.

What is Circle the Schools?

Circle the Schools is a program that pairs local companies with public schools to work together to accomplish common goals. Companies commit to participating in at least three to five activities with the school and focus on helping the school reach its own unique objectives. Find out more about this program and how you can get your company involved.

How can I volunteer in a classroom?

The Education Fund’s volunteer training and clearance process will prepare you to volunteer weekly in a San Francisco public school.

How can I volunteer at a special event?

The Education Fund offers opportunities throughout the year to volunteer at a special event, including African American Read-In, Financial Aid Nights and more.

How can I get my company involved in public schools?

Companies can partner with a public school to provide people power and other resources through our Circle the Schools Program. We also have opportunities for teams of coworkers to give back to the community by volunteering for one-time special events or weekly in classrooms.

What is the time commitment to volunteer?

We ask all ongoing volunteers (tutors, mentors and classroom support) to commit to a minimum of one hour per week, during the school day (typically from 8am-3pm) for an entire school year. Of course, if you are willing and able to dedicate more of your time, that is always appreciated!

There are also opportunities throughout the year to volunteer at a special event, including African American Read-In, Financial Aid Nights and more. The time commitment for the events varies but is generally a one-time commitment of two to four hours.

What is involved in the clearance to become a volunteer?

Volunteers who have signed up to attend an information session will then be notified about attending a specialized training and completing the clearance process: All school volunteers must pass a background check and test negative for tuberculosis (TB). You should bring a government-issued photo ID to your training so you can be fingerprinted for your background check and answer a few questions about your TB risk.

You will receive detailed information throughout each step of the process either by phone or email.

How long does it take to be cleared to volunteer?

After you have attended a training and been fingerprinted, it will normally take 5-10 business days to get cleared, depending on when you provide us your TB test results and when we hear from your two references. If there is a delay in receiving your fingerprint results from the Department of Justice we will contact you.

In general, the sooner you send us your TB test results and the sooner we hear from your references, the sooner you will be cleared to volunteer.

How soon can I start volunteering?

After you are cleared, it will take, on average, two weeks to obtain a placement at a school. We will reach out to you if we expect this process to take longer for any reason.

Please do not start volunteering with students until you’ve been notified of your final clearance and your placement has been confirmed by an Education Fund coordinator.

Are there any costs involved in volunteering?

Fingerprinting costs $78 (this fee is considered a tax-deductible donation). We have scholarship forms available at our training for those who need assistance with paying or need to pay on a sliding scale.

I’m an educator. How can I request volunteers?

Teachers and other schools staff may request volunteers to serve as tutors, mentors or other classroom support by filling out a request form.

How do I apply for an educator grant?

San Francisco public school educators are invited to apply for a variety of grants offered by the San Francisco Education Fund as well as our partners. Visit our Grant Opportunities page to see all available grant opportunities and eligibility requirements.

What if I have a friend that would like to volunteer in my class?

We can help them gain clearance to start volunteering in your class. Let your friend know to sign up with the Education Fund to become a volunteer. The first step is to attend an information session (in-person or online) and to let us know that they want to volunteer in your classroom.

I’m a student. How do I apply for a scholarship?

High school seniors may apply for a Maisin Scholar Award. Be sure to review the requirements and eligibility before submitting an application.

I want to make a difference, but I do not have time to volunteer weekly. How can I support the San Francisco Education Fund?

Donations from supporters like you make our work in public schools possible. Make a tax-deductible donation to the San Francisco Education Fund today. There are also opportunities to volunteer for special events.

Have a question we did not answer here?

Email us about general inquiries, or visit our staff page to contact individual staff members.