About The Needham Education Foundation

In 1990, a group of alumni from Needham High School had just celebrated their 50th class reunion and were looking for a way to leave a legacy to their home town. So the Needham school superintendent issued a challenge: Provide seed money for a foundation that will raise funds, in order to stimulate and support innovative educational programs in the public school system.

The Class of 1939 accepted this challenge with passion. They parlayed a small class account of just $3,000 into a foundation that has raised more than $1.5 million and awarded more than 250 grants totaling over $1 million. By the time Needham children complete their high school career, they have been touched by NEF-supported programs many, many times.

We promote innovation. We seek out and fund programs that are beyond normal and expected public funding. We fund leading-edge projects in math and science, languages and the arts, emerging technologies, social development and more. At a time when public funds are scarce and resources are increasingly limited, NEF's grants for innovation provide an important outlet for teachers, parents and students to learn, experiment, and improve.

Today, that is our passion.

The Vision
The vision of the original NEF Board of Directors was to establish a Sustaining Fund which would allow annual grants in the amount of $100,000 from investment returns. Historically, NEF has granted 8-10% annually to the Needham Public Schools while continuing to grow the Sustaining Fund.

To date the assets of NEF are over $1 million and are invested primarily in a select group of continuously monitored mutual funds.

Fundraising efforts include the Annual Spelling Bee in the spring, the Annual Fund Drive in the fall, as well as year round efforts to continue our Capital Campaign and Alumni outreach.


NEF Board of Directors

Just as our funding generously comes almost exclusively from the Needham community, our volunteer directors come from a broad cross-section of Needham. We're led by professionals, parents, business leaders, alumni and community activists. We share a common commitment - to ensure that the standard of excellence that has been the hallmark of the Needham schools continues.

If you share the same ideals, a commitment to educational excellence and the wish to contribute in any way, please contact us.

"Children represent the future for all of us. We must pass on the legacy that you should never stop learning."
- Ralph Leader, Founder and First President, Needham Education Foundation, Inc.; Retired Major General, Massachusetts Air National Guard; Winner of the Needham High School Distinguished Alumnus Award Needham High School Class of 1939

Contact the NEF

NEF Board of Directors

NEF Financial Information


Two ways to donate:

  • Donate Online


  • Make a donation to the Needham Education Foundation
    click here

  • By Mail


  • Download a paper form for submittal in person
    or via U.S. Mail

    NEF Donation Form
    All instructions are included
    on the form



    If you plan to pay by credit card, we ask that you make a minimum donation of $25. Tax ID number: 04-3088148