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Corporate Gifts to K-12 Education Up 13% in 1992

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Although corporate charitable giving declined over all last year for the first time in more than two decades, contributions to precollegiate education increased 13 percent, according to an annual survey.

Total corporate contributions to charitable causes, from health services to the arts, dropped to $5.92 billion in 1992, down from $6 billion the year before. That represented a 1 percent decrease in actual dollars and a 4 percent decrease in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The Council for Aid to Education, a New York City-based organization that tracks corporate support to education, issued the 1992 estimates last week.

They were derived from an annual survey conducted jointly by the council and the Conference Board, a business-backed research and information association also based in New York. Surveys were sent to 1,200 companies; 371 responded.

After a period of "unprecedented'' growth in the late 1970's and early 1980's, charitable giving by corporations has risen only about 2 percent each year for the past four years, the council noted in a news release. In inflation-adjusted dollars, overall giving has actually decreased an average of 2.7 percent annually since 1988.

Total education-related giving in 1992 was $2.429 billion, a 2 percent decrease in inflation-adjusted dollars from 1991.

About 70 percent of education dollars--$1.69 billion--went to higher education institutions. Precollege programs received about $364 million, up from $314 million in 1991; that was a 16 percent increase in actual dollars and a 13 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars.

K-12 Share on the Rise

Another $364 million went to "other education programs,'' a category that includes gifts to education-related organizations, scholarships, and fellowships.

The proportion of corporate education giving designated for K-12 programs increased from 13 percent in 1991 to 15 percent in 1992. Precollegiate giving has risen dramatically over the past dozen years after holding steady at about 3 percent to 4 percent of education giving throughout the 1960's and 1970's.

Meanwhile, the percentage of education donations going to higher education has remained steady at about 69 percent to 72 percent since 1963.

Over the same period, contributions to other education-related programs have decreased substantially.

Leaders of the Council for Aid to Education attributed the rise in K-12 giving in part to better reporting practices, as well as to increased interest in school reform.

David Morgan, the council's director of research, also pointed out that the figures are a conservative estimate of businesses' contributions, since they do not include gifts to higher education that ultimately target schools, such as grants for teacher training or curricular reform. They also do not include grants to community, health, and human-service programs that affect school-age children.

Copies of the council's report, "Corporate Support of Education 1992,'' can be ordered for $15 each from the Council for Aid to Education, 51 Madison Ave., Suite 2200, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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