Education foundations first appeared in California in the early 1980's, when schools faced major budget cuts after voters approved Proposition 13. Thirty years later, says Susan Sweeney with the California Consortium of Education Foundations:
Sweeney: "What we're seeing now is the same cutting of programs, and again this response of rallying the community to address needs that are important to that community to maintain."
Foundations aren't officially part of the schools or districts they serve. But there's usually some degree of cooperation or control. They raise money to support schools and programs, organize volunteers and do community outreach. And while they can't support school board candidates, they can lobby - and even advertise - for bond and tax measures.