In 2012, Public Education Network (PEN) closed its doors after 21 years. PEN was a network of local education funds (LEFs) -- community based organizations in high poverty school districts across the United States -- that continue to work with their school districts and communities to improve public education for the nation's most disadvantaged children.

At the national level, PEN raised the importance of public engagement as an essential component of education reform. It brought the voice of LEFs and the communities they represent into the national education debate. Finally, PEN gave voice to the essential nature of the connection between quality public education and a healthy and thriving democracy.

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The Public Education Network Study of LEF Leadership: Report on Baseline Survey Findings

October 17, 2001

Many nonprofit organizations seek to make change. To that end, much needed "capital" -- variously described as social, public, professional, and human -- is being brought to bear upon pressing social issues. Researchers across the country are attempting to understand how these resources are being generated, deployed, and administered, and to what avail. Of particular interest here are local education funds (LEFs) and their leaders. LEFs are a set of voluntary, intermediate, and mission-driven organizations, conceived by the Ford Foundation in 1983, which sit strategically at the nexus of educational and civic capacity building. This report provides the results of the first phase of the Public Education Network (PEN) leadership study, a baseline survey administered to 59 LEF executive directors.The survey had two purposes: to provide a snapshot of leadership characteristics and perceptions of executive directors -- information never before compiled and examined -- and to gather contextual information on the LEFs and the communities they serve. The results will be used as a foundation for subsequent research on LEF leadership. In time, the findings from this research will assist PEN in its efforts to nurture and sustain LEF leadership.

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