The Make Education a Priority (MEaP) board of directors recently voted unanimously to merge its campaign under the umbrella of the Friends of Texas Public Schools nonprofit organization.
Bobby Rigues, an Aledo ISD school board trustee who founded Make Education a Priority in 2010, said he believes the two organizations are closely aligned in mission and vision.
“We’re reaching a point with Make Education a Priority where we cannot continue to grow without nonprofit status and additional resources,” Rigues said. “We’ve operated under volunteer power since the beginning. This partnership with Friends of Texas Public Schools presents an exciting opportunity for us to expand our reach and positive impact on public education.”
Make Education a Priority was first formed when, months before the 82nd legislative session in 2011, talks of severe state funding cuts to public education as high as $11 billion to public education foreshadowed the inevitable – an unprecedented $5.4 billion budget cut. Rigues led a grassroots effort to collect 5,000 signed letters with a simple four-word message for legislators which then evolved into something that had never been accomplished. A majority of Texas school district boards of trustees united around the simple message, passing resolutions urging the legislature to Make Education a Priority, and was widely credited for the inevitable cuts being reduced from the original $11 billion figure.
“Bobby Rigues and the Board at Make Education a Priority have built an incredibly successful brand that has lived up to its name,” said Scott Milder, Found and CEO, Friends of Texas Public Schools. “We were thoroughly surprised but incredibly honored when they approached us about merging the MEaP organization and brand under the umbrella of Friends of Texas Public Schools. We will proudly host their good work!”
Rigues said he and his board have learned from many nonprofit advocacy groups, but one in particular stood out.
“Friends of Texas Public Schools and their mission to educate the public, dispel myths, and encourage community engagement resonated with us. This will be a great partnership,” he said.
Make Education a Priority, Inc. will be terminating its nonprofit status and merging its MEaP brand under the flagship of Friends of Texas Public Schools.
“Through the MEaP brand, we are excited to be given the opportunity to help FOTPS achieve its mission for the benefit of public education those it serves. Friends founder and CEO Scott Milder and Executive Director Blake Cooper have been great mentors to us. We are excited about the future,” Rigues said.