Salem Education Foundation (SEF)

Salem Education Foundation (SEF)



 617 331 6589

 265 Essex Street, P.O. Box 8184, Salem, MA 01970

SEF History

The Salem Education Foundation began 24 years ago as a Teacher Grant funding organization.  The original, sole purpose was to support innovative classroom projects and initiatives that fell outside of the district budget.  We continue to have a strong teacher grant program, giving out more that $25,000 annually.  We have also given several thousand dollars in the past few years to our Fund-a-Need program.

In 2011, when the district was in danger of losing governing power to the state because of test scores and poor performance, SEF stepped up to help lead the way to a successful school district.  We became strong advocates of progressive educational strategies, better practices in the classroom, fighting injustices in the schools, and helping rally the entire Salem community around the importance of education for the viability of our city.  Now Salem is on its way towards success!  There is always room for progress, but people are paying attention and making good decisions to benefit all of our students.  This allows us, SEF, to step back from our advocacy role, returning to our original mission of providing experiences for students that cannot be funded by the district and engaging the community.

We continue to engage the community and celebrate education in creative ways.  We’ve expanded our work into community engagement including hosting forums, creating a biannual, bilingual newspaper covering the school district and partners, and sitting on many educational and community boards and committees.  We fiscally sponsor a authentic African and Latin Dance program in the schools and partner with several non-profits in the district.  Most recently we began a bilingual spelling bee for 5th graders and an Adult spelling bee.  All Board and committee members are devoted to bettering all schools in Salem.  You can find volunteers and board members in numerous positions and roles, from parents, to teachers, to business folk, to non-profit leaders.  We are very connected and committed to Salem.




 Provide funding for projects that further students’ educational experiences in science, mathematics, the arts and humanities

Support projects that go beyond the scope of those funded by the Salem Public School Department.

Work with the larger community to make education a true community enterprise by promoting and coordinating volunteerism and participation in the schools.


Programs and Services


  • Distributed backpacks full of school supplies to all, low-income/high needs incoming Kindergarteners
  • Held a School Committee Candidate forum with David Olsen of the Salem News as the Moderator
  • Gave out over $20,000 in teacher grants
  • Gave out an additional $5000 for special programs and initiatives, benefitting all Salem Public School, that didn’t fit well within grants but were important to fund
  • Funded Google technology carts for the middle school STEM initiative
  • Created and published the fall edition of Education NOW/Educacíon AHORA, SEF’s biannual newspaper covering education in the City of Salem.  Our paper is 20-24 page tabloid style, with an annual distribution of 20,000 through the schools, community spaces, and the Salem News home edition
  • Hosted our first ever loft party/holiday jazz concert, with Salem Public Schools graduate and musician, Aidan Scrimgeour.
  • Partnered with the North Shore CDC for the Polar Plunge which brings awareness and financial support to the housing needs of our students and our community
  • Hosted, with the Mayor’s office, parent pop-up gatherings at Notch Brewery to answer questions of new or existing parents. 
  • Hosted an Adult Spelling Bee, our new annual fundraiser, which proved to be the most popular event we have hosted in years. 
  • Hosted fifth grade bilingual spelling bee
  • Worked on the Seal of Biliteracy committee to ensure that our bilingual students will be properly honored at high school graduation for their achievements in language
  • Brought traditional Latin and African dance into the Salem Public Schools through our partnership program, “Salsa for the Schools” with Greg Coles.


We have:

  • Meetings with the District Administration and the Mayor to discuss the direction of education in the City
  • Seats on Strategic Planning committees for SPS and SACS
  • Seats on the Boards of other organizations and at community functions for organizations that strengthen our community as a whole.




The Salem Education Foundation is a board of 12.


Currently we are 9 female and 3 male, with


  • 3 Latino members
  • 7 current Salem public schools parents
  • 4 bilingual members
  • 5 Educators
  • 5 Doctorates
  • a founding member of SEF who has returned because our work is important in the city.
  • Additionally, we have working committees for Grants and the SEF Newspaper comprised of volunteers from the larger community that are not on our board.