What is the distinction between the Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation?
Answer: The Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is the city-wide school district which encompasses Detroit’s public schools. DPS is also the authorizer of some charter schools in Detroit. The Detroit Public Schools Foundation (Foundation) is an independent non-profit organization that is separate from DPS and dedicated to supporting Detroit students. The Foundation’s mission is to create and enhance educational opportunities for DPS students, which it does by raising funds to support academic programming at DPS. This support is in the form of grants awarded to DPS and to non-profit organizations that provide programming to DPS students.
I was looking for the Detroit Public Schools’ website but only came across the foundation’s website. Are they the same organization?
Answer: No. DPS is a separate entity from the Foundation. The DPS’ website address is www.detroitk12.org and its general phone number is (313) 240-4377. The Foundation’s website address is www.dpsfdn.org and its general phone number is (313) 873-3348.
Answer: The Foundation was incorporated in 2002 and became operational in 2009. Currently the Foundation has 5 full-time staff members.
Answer: The Foundation raises funds from a variety of sources, including grants from local and national philanthropic and corporate foundations; sponsorships; and cash and in-kind donations from businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals. Like most non-profit organizations, the Foundation has no guaranteed sources of revenue and so must fundraise on a continuous basis.
Answer: The Foundation prides itself on utilizing donated funds efficiently and effectively. The Foundation works closely with DPS to identify and prioritize student needs, and supports programs that address those needs. As discussed below, donor-restricted funds are applied as requested by the donor. Every program funded by the Foundation is evaluated to assess its success in achieving goals approved by the Foundation and delivering outcomes expected by the Foundation. Every recipient of a grant from the Foundation must account for all grant funds and must provide documentation that the funds were spent for the purpose approved by the Foundation. To the extent permitted by law, donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible.
Answer: The Foundation accepts in-kind donations but its ability to do so is limited. Please contact the Foundation at (313) 873-3348 to discuss the nature of any proposed in-kind donation.
I want to make a donation for a particular purpose, e.g. to support DPS music programs or to benefit a specific DPS school. If I make the donation to the foundation, will my wishes be honored?
Answer: Yes. The Foundation ensures that every donation restricted for a specific purpose or school complies with the donor’s intent.
Answer: Yes, the Foundation charges a 10% fee to help defray the costs of administering restricted donations.
Answer: DPS schools and departments, as well as 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, may apply for grants from the Foundation. An applicant must submit a written request for a grant to the Foundation, and must provide information in support of the request. Details of the procedure can be found on the “Apply for a Grant” page of the Foundation’s website.
Answer: In the last four years the Foundation has awarded an average of $1 million in grants each year.
Answer: The Foundation operates a website for DPS alumni at www.dpsalumni.org. Alumni can register with the Foundation so that the Foundation can keep in touch with alumni about activities at DPS and the Foundation. Alumni may post comments on the website sharing DPS memories, as well as videos and pictures. For some schools, alumni may purchase commemorative bricks and plaques on the website, and all alumni may support the Foundation and DPS students by donating online to the DPS Alumni Fund. To make a donation to that fund, click on the “Give Now” button and type “DPS Alumni Fund” in the comments section. Please contact the Foundation’s Alumni Development Specialist, Erica Sanders, at (313) 873-8976 to discuss other opportunities for DPS alumni to support the Foundation.
Answer: No, there is not a single DPS-wide alumni association. Several schools have their own alumni associations, and they are encouraged to register with the Foundation on the Foundation’s alumni website at www.dpsalumni.org so that information about alumni activities can be shared.
Answer: The Foundation disburses net proceeds from the sale of commemorative school bricks and plaques to the applicable schools to support student programs. If a school no longer exists, net proceeds are disbursed to a nearby preK-8 school.
Answer: You can volunteer by becoming an ambassador for the Foundation and its mission. The Foundation needs assistance with fundraising, event planning, and increasing its visibility in Detroit, southeast Michigan and beyond. If you are interested in volunteering, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please type “DPSF Volunteer” in the subject line and describe how you want to support the Foundation.