Local education nonprofit to merge with Friends of Texas Public Schools

Local nonprofit Make Education a Priority (MEaP) will soon dissolve its 501c3 to go under the umbrella of another education nonprofit, Friends of Texas Public Schools, MEaP founder and CEO Bobby Rigues said.

“Through our brand, we are excited about the opportunity to help Friends of Texas Public Schools (FOTPS) achieve its mission for the benefit of public education,” said Rigues, who also serves on the Aledo ISD board of trustees. “Make Education a Priority, Inc. will be terminating its nonprofit status and will be taking the MEaP brand under the flagship of Friends of Texas Public Schools.”

Combining forces will allow MEaP a greater focus on advocacy campaigns and a larger audience. 

“Friends of Texas Public Schools has a solid reputation and is highly respected,” Rigues said. “It allows us greater flexibility in the sense that we can now focus on our campaigns instead of the administrative side of operating a nonprofit.

“A larger stage allows us to support their initiatives, and gives us a larger audience to share our advocacy campaigns. We will maintain our social media outlets as information resources, and continue to work to identify opportunities for trustees and superintendents to advocate through us.”

In order to learn more about effective advocacy for public education, MEaP’s board of directors visited with education nonprofits throughout the state, including FOTPS.

They were struck by FOTOP’s “mission to educate the public, dispel myths, and encourage community engagement,” Rigues said, and decided to join forces.

“Conversations between both organizations highlighted the benefits of working together,” he said. 

The decision to merge “surprised” FOTPS CEO and founder Scott Midler, but he said he was “honored… to proudly host their good work.”

“Bobby J. Rigues and the Board at Make Education a Priority have built an incredibly successful brand that has lived up to its name,” he said. “We were thoroughly surprised but incredibly honored when they approached us about merging the MEaP organization and brand under our umbrella.”

MEaP was founded by Rigues in 2010 ahead of the 82nd legislative session, in which public education funding was cut by $5.4 billion.

“Talks of severe reductions in state funding to public education foreshadowed the inevitable – an unprecedented $5.4 billion in cuts,” Rigues said. “A local grassroots effort to collect 5,000 petition signatures with a message to our legislators to make education a priority grew and became a statewide initiative.”

The grassroots effort became a 501c3 nonprofit in 2016.

“This particular platform has provided us the opportunity to advocate through the conduits of social media, public speaking, op-ed writing, and conference presentations,” Rigues said. 

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