Survey Finds Significant Corporate Interest in Donations to Schools

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Responding to heightened interest in precollegiate education on the part of businesses, the Council on Financial Aid to Education has for the first time released a survey on corporate giving to the schools.

The council, which ordinarily restricts its research to contributions to higher education, conducted the study on a "one-time-only basis" because many corporate-contributions officers have been curious about what businesses are doing to support precollegiate education, according to Anne Decker, cfae's vice president. She said many corporate officials have been "reassessing" their giving programs to schools following the release of reports by the National Commission on Excellence in Education and by the Task Force on Education and Economic Growth.

According to the financial-aid council, corporations gave a record $1.3 billion to education during 1982. Four percent of that amount went to elementary and secondary schools.

Gifts to education constituted 44 percent of corporations' total charitable contributions in 1982, compared with 41.5 percent the previous year, according to "Corporate Support of Education 1982," the annual study cfae conducts in cooperation with the Conference Board, a research organization concerned with business economics. Higher-education gifts rose 20 percent despite the fact that corporate profits plummeted by 23 percent, the report said.

In response to the survey analyzing the nature of corporate gifts to schools during 1982, 307 of the 593 corporate-giving officers said that their firms provided financial support for precollege education. About 283 of the corporate officials said their firms provided assistance to secondary schools, while 157 said that their companies sponsored programs aiding elementary schools.

In a six-page report on the survey's findings, the council noted that fewer than half of the corporations that supported precollege education gave aid to vocational and technical programs (43 percent) and fewer than one-fifth provided support for preschool education. Some 60 percent of the companies provided support to both public and private education.

Support for schools came in the form of direct grants, equipment, or matching gifts, according to the sur-vey. (See accompanying table.)

About 207 of the companies made direct grants to schools. Some 180 firms made cash grants to schools and 80 companies--most of them manufacturing concerns--provided equipment to schools, the survey reported.

Giving to Associations

About 60 percent of those companies surveyed contributed to national and local organizations and associations concerned with improving precollege education, according to the survey. The outside organizations most often mentioned were Junior Achievement and groups interested in improving education for members of minority groups, such as the National Achievement Scholarship Plan and the Negro Educational Emergency Drive.

About 140 companies reported that they provided matching gifts from their employees to precollege institutions.

More than half of these companies matched gifts to both public and private schools, while 45 percent matched only gifts to private schools and a little more than 1 percent matched only gifts to public schools. About 30 percent of the responding companies--most of which are in service or nonmanufacturing industries--reported participating in "adopt-a-school" programs.

Most Popular Areas

When companies limited their support to specific subject areas, the most popular areas were economic education, mathematics, science, and computer science, the report said.

Copies of Corporate Support of Education 1982 are available for $6, and copies of "Corporate Support of Precollege Education" are available at no charge, from cfae, 680 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10019.

Vol. 03, Issue 19

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