In 1988, the State of Pennsylvania began lessening the funding of its fair share of the costs of public education. Basically, this created financial hardships for public schools across Pennsylvania as the State no longer “thoroughly and adequately” funded schools which ironically is mandated by the Pennsylvania Constitution.
During his tenure as superintendent, the Upper Darby School District lost $54 million of State Funding as measured by Good Schools PA. Out of desperation in 1988, Joseph Batory, who was then the Superintendent of Schools in the Upper Darby School District, came up with the idea of establishing a foundation. Enlisting the help of others, Joe led the effort to create the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation (UDAEF). The idea was that this Foundation would raise some funds to help purchase educational supplies for classroom teachers that could not otherwise be acquired.
The major fund‐raiser for UDAEF each is year is called “The Gala,” a spectacular musical performance by about 1000 students all ages which has occurred in each of the past 20 years. That Foundation (UDAEF) has now given nearly $2 million to individual Upper Darby teachers for educational needs via 900+ mini grants.. “Driving the effort to establish Upper Darby Arts and Educational Foundation is one of my most significant accomplishments..” Summarized Joseph Batory. “The money it has raised annually has all gone to teachers and ultimately their students for all sorts of educational enhancements.
“In addition, the magnitude of bringing 1000 student vocalists and musicians of all ages together for the annual GALA cannot be overestimated. The quality of the musical performances of groups and soloists with the involvement of so many young people in each year’s GALA has been truly stunning. ”
The UDAEF grants are estimated to have positively touched the lives of 26,000 Upper Darby young people. Joe Batory was honored as the “Founder and Father of the Foundation” in 2018.