A new study of the top 50 local foundations that support K-12 districts found that Florida and Texas are home to some of the top-performing nonprofits that support students and teachers in districts. It also shows that the Pinellas Education Foundation in Florida has, for the second year, taken the number-one spot among foundations with $2 million or more in revenues.
The foundations of the 200 most populous school districts were evaluated by dewey & associates, a management and strategy consulting firm, as were high-performing foundations in smaller districts in 2013. These nonprofits raised $350 million in revenues, held $425 million in assets, and spent $181 million on programs and grants. They also benefited from the services of 67,000 volunteers that year.
In the report, author Dewey Caruthers indicated that his organization looked at foundations’ performance as reported in the 990 forms they filed with the Internal Revenue Service in 2013 on eight metrics. Those metrics included total revenues; per-student revenues; total assets; per-student assets; grant and program expenses; per-student grant and program expenses; investment income; and a measure of volunteer involvement.
The study’s purpose is to emphasize the importance of K-12 education foundations while recognizing those that do it best, according to Caruthers. “More people should know what their local education foundation is doing to dramatically improve the student learning experience,” wrote Caruthers in a release accompanying the report.
This year’s analysis of foundations was more competitive because 200 districts were examined, compared to 100 in 2014. Only five foundations that ranked in the top 10 last year remained in the top 10 this year: Pinellas Education Foundation, Omaha Schools Foundation in Nebraska, Denver Public Schools Foundation in Colorado, The Fund for Public Schools in New York, and the Hillsborough Education Foundation in Florida.
Two foundations that ranked in the teens last year moved into the top 10 this year: Brevard Schools Foundation in Florida, whcih was ranked 16th last year, moved into third place this year; and Douglas County Educational Foundation in Colorado, ranked 14th last year, moved into the number 8 spot this year.
This study is helpful in capturing the work of education foundations nationwide, said Nina Menis, the executive director of the National Schools Foundation Association in Naperville, Ill.
“In public education there’s really not a lot of funding within the budget for innovation, and that’s one area that education foundations are involved in across the country—supporting teachers with grants or innovative ideas folks would like to try,” said Nina Menis, the executive director of the National Schools Foundation Association in Naperville, Ill. “It’s amazing what a teacher can do with a $500 grant.”
In the area of helping districts with technology, foundations are “meant to supplement, not supplant,” she said. While school districts budget for technology, they might not have enough to cover all their costs. “So, yes, many foundations are helping with technology,” Menis said.
Foundations are also helping to remove barriers to success for young people, from partnering with food pantries to provide breakfast to offering homework help or tutoring. They also sometimes provide support for capital campaigns. Foundations’ services track the needs of students in the community, regardless of the size of the district they support, Menis said.
Caruthers’ study also looked at foundations affiliated with smaller districts, and divided the foundations into four divisions. The Spring Branch Education Foundation in Texas ranked first in the division for foundations with between $1 million and $2 million in revenues; the Ogden School Foundation in Utah was number one among foundations with $500,000 up to $1 million, and the IPS Education Foundation in Indiana ranked first for foundations with less than $500,000 in revenues.
An abbreviated list of the top 10 is listed in the graphic above. The top 30 K-12 education foundations in the nation in the $2 million and above range are:
1. Pinellas Education Foundation (Fla.)
2. Public Education Foundation (Tenn.)
3. Brevard Schools Foundation (Fla.)
4. Omaha Schools Foundation (Neb.)
5. Achieve Minneapolis (Minn.)
6. Hillsborough Education Foundation (Fla.)
7. Albuquerque Public Schools Foundation (N.M.)
8. Douglas County Educational Foundation (Colo.)
9. D.C. Public Education Fund (D.C.)
10. The Fund for Public Schools (N.Y.) – TIE
10. Denver Public Schools Foundations (Colo.) – TIE
12. Foundation for Newark’s Future (N.J.)
13. The Foundation for Osceola Education (Fla.)
14. Clark County Public Education Foundation (Nev,)
15. The Foundation for Tulsa Schools (Okla.)
16. Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools (Fla.)
17. Spring Branch Education Foundation (Texas)
18. All Hands Raised (Ore.)
19. Broward Education Foundation (Fla.)
20. Prince William Co. Public Schools Education Foundation (Va.)
21. Education Foundation of Collier County (Fla.)
22. New Visions for Public Schools (N.Y.)
23. The Boston Educational Development Foundation (Mass.)
24. The Great Schools Partnership Charitable Trust (Tenn.)
25. Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation (Ill.)
26. San Francisco Education Fund (Calif.)
27. Fund for Education Excellence (Md.)
28. Ogden School Foundation (Utah)
29. Philadelphia Education Fund (Pa.)
30. San Antonio Education Partnership (Texas)
Image credit: The box at the top of this post was originally published by dewey & associates in their report, “Stepping Up: The Nation’s Top K-12 Education Foundations 2015.”