Solar-bration!: 2023-2024 MPA Annual Fund Appeal

As Menlo celebrates its 15th anniversary this school year, we are reminded of the incredible sense of community that binds us together. This very community allows us to foster our students’ growth and development, striving to put them in the best position to achieve their potential.

Each year, we come together for our Annual Appeal, a vital campaign that plays a pivotal role in our school’s continued success. The Annual Appeal is an opportunity for all of us – parents, guardians, alumni, staff, and friends of the school – to contribute what we can to support our shared mission of providing an exceptional educational experience for gifted children.

Menlo Park Academy is something special and unique, providing education and support to gifted children that cannot be found elsewhere, and we count on our community to make it possible. Hundreds of stories of what Menlo has meant to our students and their families exist.

Here is one parent’s story:

Before finding MPA, our son was expelled from 3 different schools and ended up in one for kids with disabilities. He was depressed and showing lots of signs of anxiety. After a year and a half at MPA, his conduct had changed dramatically for good. His former daycare (where he was also expelled) invited him back to read books to other kids. We owe an enormous share of this achievement to MPA.


We take pride in our commitment to academic excellence, fostering a nurturing environment, and offering a wide range of extracurricular activities that help our students flourish inside and outside the classroom. However, it’s important to note that charter schools, like ours, receive significantly less funding than traditional public schools.

Anyone who donates to the Annual Appeal by April 30, 2024 (including prior gifts) will be entered into a raffle with weekly prizes, including a one-week Fast Pass and Menlo spirit wear.

Why Fundraising Matters at MPA: The Funding Disparity

Community schools in Ohio are funded differently than public district schools. Not only do we receive a lower per-student amount from the state, but we also don’t have the benefit of local property tax funds like district schools. We also can’t put a levy on the ballot when our expenses grow. 

In its 2023 edition of “Ohio Education by the Numbers,” the Thomas B. Fordham Institute reports, “State taxpayer funds provide 41 percent of total revenues, while local taxes contribute 43 percent. Federal and non-tax sources provide the rest.” In contrast, as a community school, MPA’s budget for 2022-23 showed 75% of our total revenues coming from State sources and only 16 percent from local sources. The main reason for this disparity is that we do not have access to local property tax or school levy income. *Menlo has previously received some funding from our partnership with CMSD, which totaled less than 2% of our budget, but those funds will no longer be available to MPA.

According to the Fordham report, “On average, Ohio schools spend just over $13,000 per pupil in overall operational expenditures. Urban districts have the highest per pupil expenditures ($15,021).” These costs are twice what Menlo receives from the state to fund our innovative program. Because this funding is not enough to cover all the expenses at MPA, we have an annual development plan that outlines how we intend to raise the necessary funds to help bridge this gap in funding. Contributions from our supporters are an essential part of that plan.

2023–24 Annual Development Plan




Annual Appeal

September – June

$ 42,000

Sales-based fundraiser


$ 10,000



$ 10,000

Winter Concert / Auction


$ 30,000

Quiz Night / Adult Event


$ 15,000



$ 15,000

Spring Event / Art Showcase


$ 10,000




Menlo Park Academy 2022–2023 Revenue Sources and Expenses