Supporting Student Success: Berks County’s Education Foundations
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Why would a public school establish an education foundation? In order to continue to provide a superior and innovative educational experience for students, schools require more than tax dollars.
Throughout the state of Pennsylvania, there are 500 school districts, and according to the Pennsylvania Education Foundations, about 240 of the districts have an education foundation, with new ones being established each year. Locally, we have 18 school districts located within Berks County, and currently there are 11 active education foundations.
Education foundations raise non-tax dollars to help support or supplement the funding of programs, initiatives and activities at public school districts. While approaches to fundraising and operations may vary from district to district, a similar goal is at the heart of these nonprofit organizations: to provide opportunities for students to excel.
Most education foundations are run by a board of directors separate from the school board (though there may be representation from the school board, administration and/or faculty). Some are completely volunteer-run, and others have a dedicated staff person to support the efforts of the foundation.
Several local education foundations are approved to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. The EITC program offers substantial tax credits to eligible businesses that make financial contributions to approved Educational Improvement Organizations.
Read on to learn about creative ways local foundations are raising dollars and what innovative programs they are supporting at Berks’ public schools.