Our Vision, Mission, and History
Through inspired philanthropy and community support, the APS Education Foundation seeks to make a real difference in the lives of students and teachers of APS.
The APS Education Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization established for promoting private support of the district and its students. In partnership with Albuquerque Public Schools, we promote and garner financial and in-kind resources to provide students with the opportunity to succeed. We also mobilize resources and develop community partnerships to support excellence in APS.
The Albuquerque Public Schools Foundation was established in 1995 when a national group wanted to “gift” the district with funds for teacher professional development. The Foundation was formed as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation in order to accept and manage this donation.
Today, the APS Education Foundation solicits, receives and manages private donations which fund a wide variety of programs and services within the Albuquerque Public School system. Examples of support include: Eye exams and glasses for underprivileged students, tutoring, fine arts programs, middle school sports programs, scholarships, the Summer 3rd Grade Reading Academy, and professional development for teachers are just some of programs currently funded by the Foundation.
Private support often makes the difference between excellence and mediocrity in public education. Local taxes and state support provide the basic needs for our schools, but through the years this funding has not been able to keep pace in helping to provide for the best possible education for all students. APS is committed to lessening the drop out rate, improving student achievement and supporting well rounded educational curricula for all students regardless of their personal or economic situation. Private support has been crucial to student success at APS.
Foundation Executive Director
Phone: (505) 881-0841 ext. 1
Phill Casaus has headed the Foundation and its fundraising efforts since March 2009. Casaus spent most of his career in journalism, working as a sports writer, reporter, columnist and assistant sports editor at the Albuquerque Journal from 1978-1997. He then moved to the Albuquerque Tribune, where he served as deputy sports editor, city editor, managing editor, and editor from 1997-2008. He served as as Senior Editor for Local News at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver before returning to Albuquerque in 2009.
Casaus, a product of Albuquerque Public Schools, graduated from Sandia High School in 1981. He has two children currently enrolled in district schools. His wife, Kathy, teaches kindergarten at E.G. Ross Elementary.
“I’m excited by what the Horizon Campaign has done, but that pales in comparison to what the possibilities really are,” Casaus says. “I tell people that we are really at Foundation 2.0. By the time this really takes off, we have the potential to truly make a difference for our kids.” More about the Horizon Campaign >>
In addition to the year-round fundraising performed by the Foundation, Casaus, with the help of Superintendent Winston Brooks, debuted the Horizon Campaign in the fall of 2009, raising money for grants that will help APS teachers and schools support valuable educational programs that will benefit APS children throughout the district.
"I tell donors and almost everyone I meet that APS' best days are ahead," he says. "It will take the help of folks with big business cards and $1 bills, and everyone in between. But together, we can make a difference."
Phone: (505) 881-0841 ext. 2
Cathy Cavin has been a district employee since 1988, and has been working with the Education Foundation since 1998. Her two children are proud graduates of Albuquerque Public Schools.
Her career has covered many aspects of education support over the years, beginning as the volunteer coordinator secretary at New Futures High School, office manager for the Team Against Substance Abuse, recovering dropout statistics with the Student Success Advocate office and Specialist with the Employee Assistance Program before joining the APS Education Foundation.
With the APS Education Foundation, Cathy coordinates events, fundraisers, and internal district initiatives, and her work has been invaluable to the success of the United Way employee campaign and Foundation projects.
"I have watched the foundation grow and provide support to many programs in APS throughout the years," Cathy said, "and I never get tired of seeing the advancement and innovation with which we deliver assistance to the program/school needs."
Business Partnerships Manager
Phone: (505) 855-5274
Lauren has spent the last 17 years with APS developing business partnerships to benefit students, schools and the entire district through the Join-a-School program. Before that she worked as a textbook consultant and in commercial real estate. She also taught language arts and journalism at the secondary level. Join-a-School and the Education Foundation frequently collaborated over the years and merged in 2011. Lauren continues to develop partnerships and seek private funding to support APSEF initiatives. She also facilitates classroom teacher grants, including the Horizon Awards and Seeds of Learning, and is involved in other foundation events and initiatives.
Lauren is a UNM graduate and has a Master of Arts in Education from Arizona State University. Her family includes husband Tom and two grown children who are APS graduates. Through her work with Join-a-School, which at one time supported over 900 individual partnerships, she has had firsthand knowledge of the importance of business and community support for public education, and she has accolades for businesses willing to “step up”, especially in the current economic climate.
“Adequate support for public education is really a quality of life issue in any community. Most businesses and organizations, once they see the need, are more than willing to provide support to an individual school or the district as a whole. Their resources and support are greatly valued by everyone in APS.”