Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2016

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Department

Sociology

Advisor

Erik Fritsvold

Abstract

Local educational foundations (LEFs) are nonprofit organizations affiliated with a school or a district that raise money on their behalf. Broadly speaking, these nonprofits are seen as philanthropic organizations that benefit the public. My research seeks to complicate this perception by contextualizing donations to schools in an unequal school system, and examine how donations from these foundations interact with this inequality. This research seeks to investigate whether LEFs benefit the schools in least need of assistance, that is, those with high test scores and white, middle or upper class students, thereby perpetuating the already existing inequalities. LEFs may also mask the structural problems within the educational system by allowing well intentioned parents to feel that their child receive a good public education, never realizing that private funds are what allow that education to exist.