History of SchoolsRule–Marin

The idea for SchoolsRule-Marin began in June 2010, when the President and Publisher of the Marin Independent Journal, Marin’s daily newspaper, met with Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools and offered free ad space to be used to support public education as part of the paper’s 150th Anniversary. Superintendent Burke brought in education foundation leaders though the Marin Alliance for Public Schools (MAPS), a loosely organized group that met periodically to share best practices of their work in support of their individual districts, but who recognized the importance of working towards equity for all students across the county. In October of 2010, the group reached out to an internationally known advertising firm, Venables Bell & Partners who, impressed by the concept of working for all students, committed to developing a campaign on a pro bono basis.

In 2011, a new group was established with the name of SchoolsRule-Marin. The campaign launched with full-page cutting edge ads which ran for 16 weeks in the Marin Independent Journal. In addition to the ads, an interactive website was developed that would encourage public discourse, link to volunteer experiences, and offer donors a chance to give to SchoolsRule-Marin or to link to the individual foundation of their choice.


Since the formation of SchoolsRule-Marin, the following has been accomplished:
  • A SchoolsRule-Marin structure has been created that builds upon the former MAPS organization which was expanded to include the areas of fundraising, promotion and outreach.
    • The organization’s monthly meetings provide an opportunity for sharing information and resources among the foundations regarding best practices, as well as planning and action on SchoolsRule-Marin projects and programs.
  • An initial 16 week public campaign was successfully executed in the spring of 2011. SchoolsRule-Marin full-page ads continue each year, thanks to the generosity of the Marin Independent Journal and Venables Bell & Partners. A SchoolsRule-Marin website provides the opportunity for community members to engage in debate, make a donation, and volunteer in our schools.
  • In a new partnership that was unprecedented in our State, SchoolsRule-Marin was designated as the theme partner for the 2013 Marin County Fair. As part of the SchoolsRule-Marin theme, there were fair exhibits, presentations, performances and contests that celebrated the students and schools of our community.
  • In conjunction with the Fair partnership, on July 2, 2013, the eve of the fair opening, the first-ever fundraising event benefitting all Marin County public schools was held at the Marin County Fairgrounds and drew significant corporate and community support. A similar event has been held each year since and continues to be the primary fundraising event for SchoolsRule-Marin.
  • Through 2019, contributions to SchoolsRule continued to grow each year with more and more businesses, corporations, foundations and individuals seeing the benefit of being able to support every child in every community with a single contribution. 2019 marked are highest distribution amount at $1,000,000. 
  • In 2020, our fundraising level dropped for the first time since our inception as we faced the many challenges associated with COVID-19 including having to cancel our annual fundraising event. Despite these challenges, our donors continued to give generously, and we were still able to raise $650,000 for our public school districts.  COVID-19 restrictions continued to impact our fundraising efforts in 2021 as we were again unable to host a fundraising event but we continued to receive support from our donors which resulted in a $50,000 increase over our 2020 fundraising amount.
  • Each October, SchoolsRule-Marin distributes the funds raised to the individual Marin public school foundations and districts on a per student basis to fund programs in the areas of the arts, technology, literacy and health. Since 2012, SchoolsRule has distributed nearly $6.2M in funds!  
    • October 24, 2012, First Annual Distribution of funds: $220,000 
    • October 23, 2013, Second Annual Distribution of Funds: $400,773 
    •   October 2, 2014, Third Annual Distribution of Funds: $440,954 
    •    October 12, 2015, Fourth Annual Distribution of Funds: $482,000 
    • October 27, 2016, Fifth Annual Distribution of Funds: $607,320  
    • October 25, 2017, Sixth Annual Distribution of Funds: $753,483 
    •   October 23, 2018, Seventh Annual Distribution of Funds:  $888,129 
    •   October 17, 2019, Eighth Annual Distribution of Funds: $1,000,000 
    • October 27, 2020, Ninth Annual Distribution of Funds:  $650,000  
    • October 27, 2021, Tenth Annual Distribution of Funds:  $700,000