Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation grows its staff with veteran, haiku-wielding Fund Development Director


Media Contact:
Linh Song, 734.794.3070,

October 12, 2015, ANN ARBOR– Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation has added a seasoned, haiku-loving (we’ll get to that in a moment) fund director to its lean, mean team.

Jennifer Balch Hale,  Fund Development Director (part-time)

Jennifer Balch Hale (Jennie) joins the foundation’s three part-time staffers as the Fund Development Director with a goal of matching the needs of Ann Arbor Public Schools with a growing pool of donor funds and scholarships. She brings with her the kind of experience and professional savvy AAPSEF needs to grow its mission and impact in the local community. Jennie was the Development Officer at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation for nearly 15 years. She’s also served in leadership roles with Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark Committee, Neutral Zone, and the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale. A true Ann Arbor native, she is a product of the local public school system (Bader, Tappan, Huron) and considers her K-12 education as nothing less than first-rate. In particular, she has great respect for its wonderful music programs. A self-proclaimed word nerd, Jennie was renown for recapping Eberwhite PTO meetings in the school newsletter in haiku.

“By bringing Jennie onto our team, we hope to demonstrate to potential givers that we have the professional credibility to manage and maintain their donations without the need for a large, resource-dependent organization,” says Executive Director Linh Song.

Fully engaging in public school activities in and outside of the classroom is critical to any student’s educational experience. In a large school district with nearly 17,000 students, needs vary from special classroom equipment for special needs students to ensuring that all students have time in science and engineering labs before entering middle school. These experiences along with extracurricular activities such as athletics, theater, and music come at a cost, and for some students, can be an out-of-reach proposition. The Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation believes that much of the public doesn’t realize how public school funding does not adequately fulfill these needs, creating an extra burden for struggling families. The Educational Foundation hopes to see greater discussion about this issue. The organization works to fill this gap by managing over 30 donor funds, which support everything from sports fees and music camp scholarships to prom tickets and bus passes. Together with funding Teacher Grants to support innovative teaching, the Educational Foundation aims to directly address economic inequities that 30% of students in Ann Arbor Public Schools grapple with.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation is a lean, mean organization with a team of professionals who are dedicated to helping public school students have access to a full educational experience. Operating with very small overhead, the foundation operates like a hungry start-up, providing vital scholarships and funds to students in need. As a 25-year-old staffed nonprofit, we differ from PTO’s in both capacity and scope, acting as steward to large, long-term gifts. The lion’s share of these gifts have been established by local families who believe in the value of a full public school experience. Some have had children who benefited from scholarships when they were struggling to make ends meet, others are memorializing a child they’ve lost. All have interesting and moving stories to tell.

“We’re a little organization that’s big on mission, with giant hopes to help as many students as we can,” says Linh Song.

Posted in Press Release