Our History




1983: CEF was founded by concerned CUSD parents and local business leaders. Initial fundraising supported the high school library.

1990: CEF was asked by the CUSD to manage before- and after-school childcare programs at all elementary schools in the district. CEF contracted with School’s Out to provide this service for families.

1997–2001: CEF raised $1 million to outfit each CUSD school with a state-of-the-art computer lab through the “Kids are Worth a Million” campaign.

2004: CEF brought management of the childcare program in-house. The program then was renamed Kids’ Care.

2007: CEF provided CHSTV, Carlsbad High School’s student-run television program, with seed funding to purchase the equipment needed to film the award-winning Holocaust documentary, We Must Remember.

2008: CEF hired its first professional CEO, provided more than $600,000 to preserve CUSD positions threatened by the state budget crisis and completed the development of its first three-year strategic plan.

2009–2011: In the first three years under its new strategic plan, CEF made initial investments in its three defined impact areas: music, science, and innovation (see What We Fund); launched CEF’s first-ever Summer Enrichment Program (thereby generating new earned income for CEF grant-making); and continues to build local partnerships that benefit our students every day.

2013 and beyond: CEF remains focused on making a measurable impact through targeted grants, has launched a new High School Summer Academy, continues to build a strong and representative board, and is deepening its pathways for local funders to get involved.