National School Foundation Association


National Study of Education Foundations/Funds in 50 Largest School Districts Ranks Top 20 in the Nation in Supporting Public Education

Mar 7, 2012

Florida, Texas and New York have multiple education foundations ranked in the Top 20

February 8, 2012


 A recent national study of education foundations and funds in the 50 largest school districts ranks the Top 20 education foundations/funds in the nation is supporting public education.

The top 20 education foundations / funds are:

1. Pinellas Education Foundation (FL)

2. Denver Public Schools Foundation (CO)

3. Clark Co. Public Ed. Fnd. (NV)

4. Hillsborough Education Foundation (FL)

5. Brevard Schools Foundation (FL)

6. Polk Education Foundation (FL)

7. The Fund for Public Schools, (NY)

8. Albuquerque Public School Foundation (NM)

9. Children’s First Trust Chicago (IL)

10. Broward Education Foundation (FL)

11. Philadelphia Education Foundation (PA)

12. Northside Education Foundation (TX)

13. New Visions for Public Schools, (NY)

14. Granite Sch. Dist. Foundation (UT)

15. Cy-Fair Education Foundation (TX)

16. Foundation of Lee Co. Public Schools (FL)

17. PENCIL Foundation (TN)

18. Dallas Education Foundation (TX)

19. Jefferson Co. Public Education Foundation (KY)

20. Austin Partners in Education (TX)

Duplicating the same study done in 2005, this year’s study used school year 2009-2010 data (most recent year available) from the Form 990 (page one) that nonprofits use to report financial information. It also assessed and compared most of the same performance categories as the 2005 study.


First, the study analyzes the effectiveness of an education fund/foundation at generating and sustaining financial resources to serve the students of its school district. "The rationale is that the more financial resources a foundation can generate the more services and programs it can provide to enhance the public school experience for students,” said Dewey Caruthers, president of dewey & associates, a 13-year-old management consulting firm that conducts occasional studies in education, juvenile justice and public health. Second, the study assessed the effectiveness of distributing financial resources, taking into consideration the number of students in its school district. "We wanted to see the amounts of financial resources these organizations distributed through programs to help students," Caruthers said.

A new topic added to this recent study was the role of volunteers. “The ability to grow and sustain large numbers of volunteers is an asset for a foundation, which can be leveraged many different ways to improve public schools,” Caruthers said.

More specifically, the recent study compared the following variables:

- Long-term financial sustainability (total assets, assets per student, investment income)

- Fundraising/revenues (total revenues and revenues per student)

- Program expenditures (total program expenses and program expenses per student – both less salaries and benefits)

- Volunteers (total volunteers)


The overall Top 20 was the collective scoring of all eight performance categories. The foundations that appeared in the Top 20 in the most categories were ranked highest, emphasizing the importance of being well-rounded.

“There are a lot of ways to measure success of an education foundation, but we chose these performance categories because it is objective data reported in the 990s,” Caruthers said. “Program effectiveness would be an excellent addition to the criteria, but there are no consistent programs or program measures used by foundations throughout the nation.”

dewey & associates, a Tampa Bay-based management and strategy consulting practice, conducted the study ( The firm studied the education funds/foundations in the 50 largest school districts in the nation, which are based on the number of public school students. The purpose of the study is to compare the education funds/foundations in supporting and enhancing public education in their districts. dewey & associates has worked with local education foundations and school districts throughout the nation, including many in the 50 largest in the nation, on topics including teen tobacco prevention, obesity prevention, juvenile justice reform and education reform. The firm also has consulted with corporations on how to best invest into these issues to achieve meaningful and measurable outcomes. 


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