As we get closer to the end of the calendar year, it’s time for many of us to reflect on why we do what we do.  In this case, I’d like to take the opportunity to answer a question I get from time to time – why do we need educational foundations like the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, separate from the school districts themselves?

Around the country, educational foundations date back to the 1980s.  But, even entering 2012, we are still closer to the front end of this trend.  While Detroit’s public school funding challenges receive the bulk of the attention in Michigan (and even more than its share of coverage nationally), what we see here is consistent with many national trends.  In more communities every year, it becomes apparent that school funding has changed considerably.

Once upon a time, property tax revenues adequately funded most schools.  But, now, unless new solutions like foundations emerge, economic factors are putting quality education at risk in many communities.  Housing values have plummeted from coast to coast, reducing revenue to schools.  Also, with an aging population in Michigan and elsewhere, national studies and election results show that voters are less likely than ever before to approve millage increases to support education.

Educational foundations are helping to add value and preserve successful programs by investing in the future of communities.  We are proud to do that in Detroit.