The Foundation of Educational Excellence began in 1991 when members of the Pioneer Valley Regional School Committee met with faculty and administration members to discuss how to restore educational enrichment programs that had been cut from the school curriculum due to budget constraints. A plan was made to involve the greater community of the four towns in a private education foundation to help support these enrichment programs. It was discovered that Local Education Foundations (LEF's) had already taken root locally and nationally and that the Massachusetts Department of Education supported these efforts.
Over one hundred people came to the first meeting, and the first board of directors of the new foundation was formed. Within the first year, all the schools in the newly formed Pioneer Valley Regional School District were part of the Foundation.
Within the next two years, an endowment fund was established to ensure the Foundation's viability into the future. Grant application limits of $500 were lifted and programs in excess of $1,000 were approved for the first time. 2002 marked the first year of the "mini-grant" program funding smaller projects that can get up and running within a matter of weeks of their application so that teachers can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Parents, students, teachers and community members have all responded in a positive way to the Foundation's efforts. One principal commented, "The FEE has helped us provide enrichment opportunities to enhance the educations of our students. Many of these experiences would be impossible without the help of the Foundation.