Meeting District Needs

Where is the Line Between Shopping and School Fundraising?

By Andrew L. Yarrow — September 21, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

I was recently reminded that Macy’s department store plans its fifth annual “Shop for a Cause” campaign on October 16, and began mulling over whether heading to the mall to buy clothes and cosmetics is really the best way for businesses to help schools raise money.

There are countless ways that businesses—often in partnership with school districts—have found to contribute to, or help raise money for, public schools. The range and creativity of these efforts can be dazzling. And, despite those who worry about polluting the purity of public schools with corporate dollars, I generally support private-sector efforts to support and become involved with our nation’s schools.

However, there is often the question of corporate motivation: Are they mostly out to help schools or to burnish their own image and improve their often profitability? There’s nothing wrong with burnishing one’s image by doing good, but when a business-school “partnership” seems so obviously geared to raising a company’s sales, I have to pause.

Under Macy’s program, schools are being invited to sign up and sell $5 tickets that allow buyers to get big shopping discounts at Macy’s on October 16. Schools get to keep the proceeds from ticket sales—and Macy’s touts the fact that $34 million has been raised for schools and other nonprofits since 2006. A skeptical reporter might wonder, though, if this is less a case of win-win than a shopping promotion that uses the apparently admirable end of benefiting schools to lure people into Macy’s stores. And Macy’s is hardly alone in such cause-related marketing.

Indeed, schools need to be open to all creative ideas in building business partnerships, but is this a good way to go?

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12, Parents & the Public blog.


Student Well-Being Webinar After-School Learning Top Priority: Academics or Fun?
Join our expert panel to discuss how after-school programs and schools can work together to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.
Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Meeting District Needs Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories you may have missed.
8 min read
Meeting District Needs Coronavirus Squeezes Supply of Chromebooks, iPads, and Other Digital Learning Devices
School districts are competing against each other for purchases of digital devices as remote learning expands to schools across the country.
7 min read
The New York City school system has been handing out laptops and other digital devices for students to use at home. Recently, it moved quickly to purchase 300,000 new iPads for remote learning.
The New York City school system has been handing out laptops and other digital devices for students to use at home. Recently, it moved quickly to purchase 300,000 new iPads for remote learning.
AP Photo/John Minchillo
Meeting District Needs Opinion Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students
The NAACP advocates the use of OER as a way to equalize learning resources at scale for all students, write Lisa Petrides and Barbara Dezmon.
Lisa Petrides & Barbara Dezmon
6 min read
Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students In the wake of NAACP’s endorsement of OER, states have a responsibility to address resource inequality, write Lisa Petrides and Barbara Dezmon
Meeting District Needs 'Red Flags' to Look for When Evaluating Personalized Learning Products
Educators are asking tougher questions to sort the real personalized learning potential from the empty promises of some ed-tech products and services.
6 min read
Buzzwords in the Marketplace
Buzzwords in the Marketplace
Education Week