What Is an Educational Foundation?

An educational foundation is an organization formed to disseminate information to the public and media. Specific focuses and goals for educational foundations vary, but many groups also raise funds, lobby legislators and provide networking opportunities for members.

Definition of an Educational Foundation

An educational foundation is a private or not-for-profit organization set up to educate the media and public. Educational foundations often act as charitable benefactors, raising funds for and awarding scholarships and grants. Many educational foundations are also lobbyist groups, representing the interests of their members to Congress. Some educational foundations exist to provide career networking and community advancement opportunities for members. All kinds of groups, from fraternities to animal rights activists, start foundations, but most educational foundations focus on a specific group or target audience and have a unified goal.

Important Facts About Educational Foundations

Recipients Grants and awards can be given to academic institutions, as well as individual students
Eligibility Qualifiers for Institutions Public/private status, geographic location, accreditation
Eligibility Qualifiers for Individuals Academic achievement, ethnic background, family income

Examples of Educational Foundations

While a handful of educational foundations are whimsical and extraordinary, others play an important role in the advancement of society. Some educational foundations serve to support a specific group.

  • The James Randi Educational Foundation was set up by its namesake, a well-known magician and scientific skeptic, to support the pursuit of paranormal research and educate the public about investigating paranormal claims. The foundation also has a standing offer of $1 million to be paid to anyone who can demonstrate a legitimate paranormal ability that holds up under scientific testing.
  • On the less fantastical side, the Haberman Educational Foundation was set up in 1994 to promote the teachings of Dr. Martin Haberman and to introduce research models designed to identify teachers and administrators who are best suited to work with at-risk students. The organization has the goal of ensuring that poverty-stricken children are provided with the best possible educators through the public school system.
  • Designed for a specific ethnic group, the Belgian American Educational Foundation supports exchange programs between Belgium and the U.S. This particular educational foundation grew out of another organization, the post-WWI Commission for Relief in Belgium, which was founded by President Herbert Hoover in 1914.

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