Philanthropic Support for Public Education in the Southwest Region

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This report examines the relationship between philanthropy (gifts and grants provided by private foundations and business concerns)and public schools in five states -- Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The study describes how much support goes to public schools; how it is distributed; who gets the money; for what types of activities; which are the most active grant makers and what are their characteristics; and the role SEDL can play in providing research-based information or other services for philanthropic organizations. The study found that philanthropy for K-12 public education is growing, but also that the realities of grant makers' priorities, varying philosophies, and charter restrictions establish a context in which the distribution of funds is erratic, dollars don't necessarily flow to districts that have high concentrations of impoverished students with poor academic performance, and anomalies can have unintended consequences. Further, it appears that schools are most successful in gaining philanthropic support from local donors for coherent, strategic initiatives and/or when the schools have staff with assigned responsibility for fund-raising.
Born, Laurie; Wilson, Dave
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