Local education foundations (LEFs) are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations whose boards represent local community and education leaders and who are financially accountable to their communities. Each is unique in its operation, its programs and the resources it provides to its community, but all share a common commitment to improving education at the local level. LEFs:
- Serve as conveners with non-profit agencies to address community issues relating to education.
- Link people and organizations in their communities with public schools, developing awareness and resource support.
- Increase teacher morale by making direct financial grants to teachers and by recognizing their importance in the community
- Broaden support for public education and local schools with greater community awareness
Impact of LEFs:
- In 2009, California education foundations raised more than $250 million dollars to benefit public schools and address the local needs of California’s students.
- LEFs sponsored programs as diverse as the communities they represent, ranging from teacher grants to purchases of instructional technology to after school enrichment, art and music programs to providing dental vans.
- More than 36,000 community leaders served on the boards of LEFs and as volunteers, bringing new ideas and perspectives to educational issues. These leaders serve as ambassadors for local schools and spokespeople for public education. Often these community leaders go on to become school board members and elected officials.
Established in 1982 as a statewide nonprofit organization, the California Consortium of Education Foundations (CCEF) strengthens public education by facilitating the creation, growth, and effectiveness of local education foundations (LEFs). CCEF serves as the voice of California’s education foundation movement, promoting the benefits of LEFs in interviews with the media and through outreach to local, state, and national organizations. CCEF promotes sharing and collaborating between education foundation leaders and with other community-based organizations. CCEF believes that LEFs are in a unique position to identify and secure important community resources in support of local schools.
CCEF promotes the one constant found in all studies of public education – parent and community involvement is critical to improving student achievement and school performance.
Over 600 local education foundations (LEFs) are working to support public schools in California. These grass-root non-profits serve as vital links between their communities and their schools. While they differ in scope, programs, structure, and complexity, California LEFs share one common vision . . . improving education for all of California’s students.