Forward the Foundation

from Technology & Learning Local education foundations offer an alternative source for school funding. February's column ("Going Corporate") discussed ideas for approaching private foundations for funding. Some districts take this idea several steps further by partnering with the community and local businesses
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

from Technology & Learning

Local education foundations offer an alternative source for school funding.

February's column ("Going Corporate") discussed ideas for approaching private foundations for funding. Some districts take this idea several steps further by partnering with the community and local businesses to establish a not-for-profit foundation, or local education foundation (LEF).

It probably comes as no surprise that the idea of forming an LEF appears to be more popular during tight economic times, but is it worth the time and effort required to get something like this off the ground? Here's a quick overview of what an LEF is and how it can provide supplemental funds.

Most LEFs are launched for three reasons: to improve the quality of local education programs, to strengthen relationships between schools and the community, and to provide a source of additional funding for school programs. These foundations typically work with just one school district but are not actually part of the district. Instead, the LEF is a separate organization with its own board of directors, staff, and bylaws. The LEF bylaws determine whether or not school officials are involved directly in decision-making for the LEF, and to what degree. This means that all concerned parties must establish and maintain open lines of communication for the LEF to succeed.

Fundraising usually takes the form of special events (dinners, golf tournaments, auctions) or direct mail solicitations to community members. Some LEFs also procure funds through grant writing. The amount of money raised annually varies widely and generally reflects the socio-economic demographics of the community. However, regardless of the community's level of affluence few report securing more than $100,000 in any given year. These funds are used for a variety of purposes: mini-grants given to individual teachers, instructional materials, equipment purchases, and building projects. There are also LEFs that solicit in-kind services for the district, which take the form of donated services and/or goods. Though this may seem like a drop in the bucket, many educators report that the goodwill generated cannot be purchased at any price and that even small contributions help keep less-expensive programs afloat.

To learn more about establishing and operating an LEF, visit the National School Foundation Association or the Public Education Network.

Susan Brooks-Young is an educational consultant and writer.

Featured

Related

Going Corporate

Corporations can be a great source for grant funding. When your school or district needs additional funding, do you look to the private sector for assistance? Numerous corporations offer support to the community through charitable foundations. Some of these foundations focus on national initiatives, but many

Tips from the Bottom Line(2)

from Technology & Learning A T&L columnist shares dollarwise highlights from the past year. Revisit Past Funding Practices Stymied by how to manage anticipated funding decreases and spiraling costs? Bleak funding projections can result in significant reductions or elimination of programs, regardless of their

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation Can the world become a kinder place? The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a multitude of ideas for changing the world one step at a time. Authors list 100 Ideas for Kindness that range from "Give the gift of your smile" to "Host special programs or speakers at

Grants, Contests & Awards(11)

Looking for funds to make an innovative technology project possible? Seeking recognition for outstanding teachers or students in your district? Here's a sampling of some great opportunities. Sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation, new ThinkQuest competitions begin every six months. Teams of students ages 9 to

Building a Common Foundation

Our district has formally adopted student technology standards that are to be implemented this year. The teachers are overwhelmed, viewing this as an add-on to an already lengthy list of content area standards! How do we approach these additional standards? Although most educators these days feel inundated with

Dear Administrator(2)

Q: We recently completed a grant proposal that required verification of how administrative staff has supported local technology initiatives. I've not seen this requirement before, and we scrambled a bit to find specific documentation. Is this a common request? A: The importance of administrative support in successful