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Pinellas Education Foundation is best in nation (says report from St. Pete)



The Pinellas Education Foundation is tops among foundations serving the 50 biggest school districts in the country, according to a new report from ... a company based in St. Petersburg.

Dewey & Associates, a management and strategy consulting practice, looked at eight variables, including total assets, revenues, expenses and volunteers. The PEF came in at No. 1, followed by foundations serving Denver, Clark County (Nevada), Hillsborough and Brevard. PEF also ranked No. 1 in 2005, the last time the company ranked foundations.

Dewey & Associates' clients include Students First Pinellas, which includes a number of movers and shakers with the Pinellas foundation, and Take Stock in Children, the scholarship program that partners with the foundation on the latter's Doorways Scholarships program. But president Dewey Caruthers said the firm is neither a member nor a contributor to the foundation. Asked if it's coincidence that a St. Pete company concluded the Pinellas foundation is the best, Caruthers wrote in an email, "Fair question."

He continued: My firm has done lots of pro bono work, as well as paid work, that involves working with education foundations and school districts throughout Florida and in other states on various issues --  education reform, juvenile justice reform (civil citations), obesity prevention and teen tobacco prevention. For instance, I am working with school districts, health foundations and education foundations this year in Kentucky, Louisiana, West Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Florida and Mississippi on bringing obesity prevention efforts to their schools.

Furthermore, I often refer my clients, and others interested in improving public education, to their local education foundation.

I think the glaring bias I have is toward ALL education foundations (once you read page 1 of the Study you will see).  As budget cuts for school districts continue indefinitely, the importance of education foundations rises.

Biased or not, the report includes information that doesn't often surface - like how much education foundations raise. The Pinellas foundation raised $5.4 million in 2009-10 (the most recent year that data was available for all the big districts), which puts it fifth among big districts. In revenue per student, it ranked No. 2. The report is attached below.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2012 1:47pm]


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