In 2001, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, Iowa, was the driving force behind the establishment of the National Center for Public and Private School Foundations Web site. With financial assistance from a U.S. Department of Education grant, Dr. David Else of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa oversaw the development and design of the original site.
The National Center encouraged the development and expanded use of public and private K-12 school foundations by providing a national web-based information support system. Since its inception and subsequent partnership with the Iowa Association of School Boards in 2004, the NCPPSF has continued to expand the Web site. School district employees or community members wishing to start, rejuvenate, or sustain a school foundation discovered a “Foundation Startup Guide”, reviewed school foundation research, learned fundraising strategies, discovered fund management techniques, identified foundations in states across the country, perused a library of literature, and viewed a video library highlighting speakers addressing school foundation issues.
In April of 2005, a merging the Association of Education Foundations and the National Center for Public and Private School Foundations formed the National School Foundation Association (NSFA), with the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) volunteering to oversee its growth and development. Formal governing documents were completed in April of 2008 with NSFA seating a board of directors.
- NSFA is known for its National Conferences, the first was held in 2006. 2019 is the 14th Annual National Conference.
- In 2012, NSFA held its first regional conference in Kansas City, MO.
- In 2014, NSFA partnered with National University to develop an Education Foundation Leader Training and Certification Program.
- In 2017, the Industry Leadership Council was created to harness the thought leadership of seasoned executive directors from each of the 50 states.
- In 2017, the first National Superintendent of the Year was awarded to recognize the important role played by school superintendents in engaging the community to ensure all students have the resources they need to succeed. The first recipient was Dr. Michael Grego of the Pinellas County Education Foundation (FL).
- In 2017, NSFA created five official regions - Western, Southwest, Midwest, Northeast and Southeast.
- In 2018, NSFA created a Council of Advisors to serve as ambassadors on behalf of NFSA and provide strategic thought leadership.
- In 2018 NSFA launched an online Board Training Program to better equip the volunteer leaders of education foundations.
- In 2018 NSFA created the SWAG Awards to recognize industry-leading marketing efforts for Special Events, Websites, Annual Fund Campaigns and Galas.
- In 2018 NSFA launched its first Focus Group for Large, Urban Foundations followed later that year by a New Education Foundation Leader Focus Group.
NSFA has grown to over 900 members including state affiliate members.