HP Education Foundation Launches Endowment Campaign

The Highland Park Education Foundation (HPEF) launched the public phase of “Lead for Tomorrow,” a multi-year endowment campaign seeking to raise $40 million by the end of 2026.

The campaign was announced Aug. 30 at the Dallas Country Club to an audience of more than 290, who were greeted by Highland Park High School students, including cheerleaders and student council members, as well as music from the HPHS Park Version vocal ensemble and the Pipe and Drum Corps.

The leadership phase of this campaign began in January 2021 and has already raised $17 million in new gifts and pledges. Donors have established more than 95 new funds in the Tartan Endowment, a permanent source of support managed by HPEF for teachers, students, and staff throughout the Highland Park Independent School District (HPISD). The market value of the Tartan Endowment combined with these new pledges exceeds $52 million. The Tartan Endowment was established in the late 1990s.

“Over its first 25 years, the Tartan Endowment grew to 50 donor-established funds. In just over the past two years, that number has jumped to more than 140. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all these donors who have invested in the future of Highland Park Schools,” said HPEF Executive Director Meg Jones Boyd, who recently took over the role from Lauren Holloway.

One lead gift came from the eight children of the late Julie and Louis Beecherl, Jr., who all graduated from Highland Park High School like their father. Their gift created the Julie and Louis Beecherl, Jr. Memorial Legacy Fund. Like most of the permanent funds established in this campaign, theirs is unrestricted.

“Our parents were among the original supporters of the Tartan Endowment,” said Robert Beecherl, who also serves on the campaign’s leadership committee with his wife, Medora. “They cared deeply about education and the vitality of this community. My siblings and I are proud to support Highland Park Schools in a way that also honors our parents in perpetuity.” 

The Beecherl fund is one of seven established during this campaign with a gift of $1 million or more.

Bill Ogle, who recently took over as HPEF President from Michael Denton Jr., said the long-term impact of the Lead for Tomorrow campaign will extend beyond its conclusion in 2026.

“The Tartan Endowment is forever. All these new funds will grow over time, empowering HPEF to ensure that the tradition of excellence in HPISD continues.”

In the near term, Ogle said HPEF intends to allocate most of the resources from these new Legacy Funds toward teacher salaries. 

“We know our teachers earn less than their peers in many of the other districts in North Texas,” said Ogle. “We have a tradition of great teachers in HPISD, but we cannot rely on that alone to ensure we are able to attract and retain the best teaching talent for our children.”

Hyer Elementary fourth-grade teacher Britany Cristofoli also spoke at the campaign’s launch.

“My fellow teachers and I are astounded by the generosity of the Highland Park community,” Cristofoli said. “We all love teaching here. Many teachers commute from other districts that offer higher pay. This campaign demonstrates just how important public schools are to the Park Cities and the goal to support teacher compensation.”

At the end of the program, HP alumnus Garry Weber announced an additional $2 million gift to the campaign, in addition to the $5 million lead gift he’d made earlier this year.

“I am so grateful to give to the schools that gave me so much, and that still give to me every day,” said Weber.

Cindy and Guy Kerr are co-chairs of the campaign leadership committee, and honorary chairs are Judy and Jim Gibbs and Marla and Mike Boone. The full committee and additional campaign information is available at www.leadfortomorrow.org.

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