The Durango Education Foundation (D.E.F.) is a community organization of dedicated volunteers and paid staff, who together develop resources to cultivate positive, life-changing academic learning opportunities for Pre-K through Grade 12 students in Durango School District 9-R. DEF is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit, established in 1984.  


Excellent public education available to all children, regardless of age, ability, race, ethnicity, zip code or socioeconomic situation, is fundamental to preparing young people to be eagerly engaged and productive adults in our community and in the broader world: this is DEF’s guiding belief. Read more in depth about DEF here.



72305891 - business people meeting in office workplaceTrustee commitment is the key component in DEF’s success.


Trustees believe in education’s power to transform the world. They are committed to supporting public education. 


Trustees believe in DEF’s ability to make a difference in our classrooms. They commit time, energy, and resources to implementing DEF’s mission. 


Trustees find ample opportunities to fulfill our mission in the 8 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 2 high schools, and other academic programs within Durango School District 9-R. DEF also collaborates with community organizations offering programs for 9-R students.



Trustees shape DEF’s impacts.  
  • Four grant streams to help educators in classrooms and student programs;
  • Managing donor-advised scholarships and awards;
  • Advocacy for public education;
  • DEF Fellows program to connect educators with expertise in the community;
  • Administrative assistance to the Durango High School Alumni Association;
  • Fiscal agency services for donors desiring to contribute via a 501(c)3 nonprofit;
  • Appreciation and recognition for outstanding 9-R educators;
  • Other activities that may arise, with board approval.


Trustees provide governance oversight.
The term of office is three years and is renewable without limitation. The Durango 9-R district administration and the 9-R School Board appoint liaisons to the DEF board. Click here for a list of current trustees. The foundation follows a regularly updated and tracked Strategic Plan.


Trustees meet on the third Thursday of the month except in June, July and December. In June, the board holds its annual retreat, usually a half-day. The December meeting is combined with a holiday party. There is no board meeting in July, although working committees may opt to meet for planning. Board meetings typically last 1 – 1½ hours. These meetings follow critical path management practice; non-urgent business is covered in a bi-weekly e-news bulletin prepared by staff specifically for the board.


Trustees are part of a community support team.
Financial support comes from individual and business contributors, grants from institutional funders and family foundations, investment income, and cause marketing partnerships. 35-40% of the regular school district employees contribute through payroll deductions; these account for almost 10% of our annual operating budget. DEF holds regular and special fund-raising events.


Every trustee makes an annual monetary contribution to DEF operations at a level that is personally meaningful and commensurate with the trustee’s commitment to the work of DEF. All trustees participate in other fundraising efforts either directly or indirectly. It is the norm that every trustee proudly shares DEF news and information with friends and associates in order to increase the foundation’s impact and reach.


Trustees participate in DEF efforts.
Trustees spend an average of 4-8 hours per month on DEF business, including the regular board meeting, committee work and other duties. Some activities, such as Grants, Scholarships, and the various events, are calendar-driven and may require more time over a shorter calendar period.


Committees include:


Liaisons: Every DEF trustee serves as a liaison to one of Durango 9-R’s schools, providing insight to the board about his/her school’s priorities and needs, tracking DEF grant implementation, and communicating DEF’s opportunities to the school.


A paid staff underpins the mission implementation…
DEF staff includes a full-time Executive Director and a part-time Financial Manager, both of whom are as committed as the trustees to the value of public education. Both are available during normal business hours by phone or email and in person by appointment. Please visit our Contact us page for more information.


Documents: View DEF financial and other governance documents here. View the DEF 2016-18 Strategic Plan here.


Thank you for your interest in the Durango Education Foundation. Please contact us to inquire further about becoming a DEF Trustee.