Local Education Foundation 101

You are thinking you need a local education foundation.  You know your district needs alternative sources of funding.  Now what?

This is a question we get all the time so here are a few things to consider.

  • A local education foundation is established by community members who want to support the school district or by a school district employee who realizes the need for additional funding.
  • What about the PTO/PTA/Booster clubs? A local education foundation is to competing with these parent organizations as they tend to focus on a school or team.  The education foundation focus is the district.
  • Every school district has a strategic plan.  Every school district has a budget. Often these two elements are not in synch and the district needs alternative sources of funding.  An education foundation is one potential source. The mission of the education foundation is to support the district in its strategic plan.
  • COLLABORATE: Every step of the way the school district and the local education foundation should be collaborating. This is the key to success.
  • A local education foundation is its own entity, and has a 501c3 non-profit status.  This also means the local education foundation board must follow the laws and best practices of a non-profit.
  • How do you know if a Board of Education member, a superintendent or a business administrator should sit on your local education foundation board?  There is no hard and fast rule but carefully written bylaws and/or a memorandum of understanding between the district and education foundation can be critical in these instances. This is a common topic of conversation with NJEFP members and guidance is available when needed.

Understanding these nuances can help your district decide if an education foundation is right for you. And if so, where and how do you start? The mission of NJEFP is to support local education foundations in NJ and, therefore, provide a myriad of resources. These include:

  • Membership to NJEFP.
  • Purchase our book Creating a Local Education Foundation in New Jersey.
  • Research offerings by New Jersey School Boards (only available to Board of Education members and distract staff).

Yes, you can do this on your own but the NJEFP network and resources will save you time and headaches. The hope is that each local education foundation will be around long after we have come and gone.  Take the time to set it up correctly, use the resources available to you, ask questions and work together.