The purpose of this study was to identify views held by local school board members in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County regarding affiliations with private charitable foundations supporting public education. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with a sampling of school board members from Pennsylvania's Allegheny County. The semi-structured interview questions addressed the subjects' perceptions and beliefs concerning the practices, problems and prospects of affiliations with foundations. A purposive sampling was used to identify nine school board members as study subjects.
The results of the study demonstrate that the subjects perceived that private charitable foundations hold a responsibility to support general social welfare in their communities of interest. Moreover, the subjects also believed that the type of supports provided by the third sector should include investments in public schools that are of both financial and non-financial natures. The subjects held that charitable foundations should approach affiliations with public schools as a partner in cross sector work, which includes shared decision making and mutual benefits for all parties.
The subjects identified four themes in relation to practices affecting affiliations: disclosure, expectations, organizational culture and capacity. The subjects held that cross sector partners need to disclose their aims, assets and assumptions of shared work prior to entering into engagements; engage in frank discussion concerning their shared work; consider the social, political and/or economic context in which shared work is taking place; and ensure that sufficient assets are secured and that personnel with expertise are sufficiently poised to address shared work.
The subjects identified four themes in relation to problems with affiliations: disclosure, expectations, capacity and continuous learning. The subjects suggested that risks exist when foundations withhold disclosure of ideological agendas underlying their interests; expectations of shared work are not clearly defined; insufficient assets are provisioned for sustainability upon the exit of donor funding; and project outcomes unmask failings of public schools.
The subjects identified one theme in relation to prospects for affiliations: expectations. The subjects held that schools and foundations need to clarify their assumptions of shared work and that verbal and written agreements should be used as a means to codify such expectations.
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Charitable foundations, Philanthropy, Public education, School boards|
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