Study Results on Local Education
Local education foundations are garnering increasing attention in both the popular press and research literature. In this appendix, we review the literature, as well as our findings from phone interviews with LEF representatives as sociated with three districts in our sample and interviews with district and school personnel.
The research literature examines the growth of LEFs, where LEFs are likely to be formed, and the level of support they raise. The emerging view is that the num ber of LEFs is growing and LEFs are providing districts with more flexible fund ing, but they also may be leading to greater inequities between wealthy and poor districts (although it has been argued that LEFs can also actually help close the gaps between higher-income and lower-income districts). In comparison with the literature, our interviews focused more closely on how LEFs raise funds and the processes by which they allocate funds.
In this section, we provide information from our search of published reports, journal articles, and the popular press. The following summaries provide a quick overview of the recent growth of LEFs, the dollar value of money raised by LEFs, and the characteristics of the districts that form successful LEFs.
The consensus is that the number of LEFs is growing throughout the country, particularly in California. Merz and Frankel (1995) conducted a multistate analy sis of foundation activity based on a survey of school districts and interviews with individuals involved with foundations. The study found that the vast ma jority of foundations have been formed since 1989, with California having the longest history with them. Brunner and Sonstelie (1997) used IRS data and the required registration of nonprofits operating in California and found widespread use of educational foundations in the state; more than 500 such foundations were in operation in 1995 in 1,001 school districts. Addonizio (1999) studied the