CFEF in a Snapshot
Florida operates on a county-wide school district model and the first local education foundations were established in the early 1980s. The CFEF serves one established local education foundation aligned with each school district. Current membership is 62 foundations that collectively represent 99% of Florida’s 2.7 million K-12 students.
An early effort of the CFEF was the establishment of a specialty license tag which has generated more than $11 million to date to enhance education through local education foundations.
Combined total revenue of member foundations in 2014-15 was $63 million with combined assets of $147 million and $31 million in endowments. Florida is recognized as a national leader in the local education foundation movement with six CFEF member foundations ranking in the top 25 in the U.S. based on eight key performance areas. (Dewey & Associates, 2016)
With an average board size of 20, there are approximately 1,100 volunteer leaders of CFEF member foundations. The majority (80%) are business and community members, and in the typical model the superintendent and one school board member serve in an ex officio capacity. In addition to board members, local education foundations involve 12,900+ volunteers annually in other capacities, including as mentors and tutors for students.
Since 2001, the State of Florida has appropriated more than $34 million to the CFEF for the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program – leveraging public funds to provide a $1 for $1 match to encourage private-sector investment and involvement for locally driven initiatives to advance student achievement. In 2015-16 alone, $4.5 million in matching funds is supporting 144 projects in 59 school districts with the CFEF accountable to the Florida Department of Education for all deliverables including reporting of measurable outcomes for each funded initiative.
The CFEF also acts as a conduit for private-sector investment in local education foundation initiatives through targeted re-granting programs that match philanthropic interest with classroom needs on the local level. Current partners AT&T, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and Suncoast Credit Union are providing thousands of Florida students and teachers innovative learning opportunities this school year through the CFEF.
Customer giving and corporate affinity programs can also be facilitated through the CFEF in a turn-key manner. In 2015, Amscot Financial’s annual ‘Just a Dollar’ campaign surpassed the $1.2 million milestone in support for local education foundation initiatives in the Tampa-based company’s 20 county service territory!
Individuals, businesses and organizations can now invest directly in an innovative classroom project online with a few simple clicks through the CFEF’s Find it Fund it program! Visitors to www.finditfunditflorida.com/grants can check out the education foundations with this capacity and choose the local teacher-led project they want to support.
A growing number of CFEF members are getting involved in community engagement activities, seizing an opportunity to bring school districts and citizens together in support of better student outcomes. Through a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 15 CFEF member foundations are now receiving substantive training and professional coaching support to facilitate productive dialogue among diverse local stakeholders on education issues and challenges.
In addition to convening member foundations for professional development and sharing of best program practices, the CFEF regularly engages the board members and supporters of local education foundations in virtual and in-person forums to hear directly from state policymakers on timely education issues. Presentations, resources and related news are archived can be found on the CFEF website here.
The CFEF is actively engaged with a number of other statewide entities that are also committed to student achievement including the Florida Chamber, the Florida College Access Network, the Florida Tax Watch Center for Educational Performance and Accountability, the Florida School Boards Association, the Florida Association of School District Superintendents, and the Florida Department of Education.