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Public Schools Missing out on Philanthropy


11 February 2013 at 2:32 pm
Staff Reporter
Public schools are missing out on financial and ‘in-kind’ support from philanthropic foundations and trusts and instead relying on fetes and more traditional fundraising, according to new research.

Staff Reporter | 11 February 2013 at 2:32 pm


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Public Schools Missing out on Philanthropy
11 February 2013 at 2:32 pm

Public schools are missing out on financial and ‘in-kind’ support from philanthropic foundations and trusts and instead relying on fetes and more traditional fundraising, according to new research.

The survey, Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy 2012 Survey Report by the Australian Council for Educational Research found that schools, especially government schools, rarely connect with philanthropic trusts and foundations as part of their fundraising approach when seeking extra assistance for learners.

Yet philanthropic organisations surveyed for the report had annual budgets earmarked for education grants ranging from $521 to $2.7 million last year.

The report examined philanthropy in education through a national survey of 61 philanthropic education grant-making foundations and trusts, 359 government and non-government schools and 87 Not for Profit organisations working with schools.

Principal Research Fellow in the Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation research program at ACER and co-author of the report, Dr Michelle Anderson, said: “Many schools are ‘pressed up against the glass’ and wondering what they are looking at when it comes to philanthropy in schooling.”

“A big knowledge gap for schools exists in this area. Philanthropy is a whole new world for nine out of 10 schools in Australia.”

Dr Anderson said that although the LLEAP surveys are not designed to be comparative from year to year, a noticeable trend is that philanthropic organisations wish to engage more directly with education, particularly working in collaboration with schools and Not for Profits around common areas of need for children and young people.

The LLEAP 2012 Survey Report also found that:

    Unfriendly tax laws limited the potential for many philanthropic foundations and trusts to make grants directly to schools, while few schools have established funds, such as a scholarship fund, to maximise their potential fundraising – a mere seven per cent of schools had a scholarship fund, while 43 per cent of philanthropic organisations surveyed said they could support bursaries and scholarships
    Student engagement was identified as a top priority by all schools, philanthropy and Not for Profits, while ‘material assistance’ is a top three priority across all three groups
    Schools, philanthropy and not-for-profits support the Gonski Review’s recommendation to create a national fund to improve philanthropy in schooling to build greater capacity for working with schools and improve the coordination of information through a ‘one-stop-shop’ repository, but all raised concerns that any such national fund should not constrain innovation and local decision making about how funds were spent.


The survey was carried out in partnership with The Ian Potter Foundation and the Origin Foundation.



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