For the last few years, a trend has been emerging in K12 education funding with a clear message: Partnerships equal power. Partnerships should include the school district, of course, and community groups, parent organizations, nonprofit supporters and for-profit businesses.
For school district leaders, it is obvious how a higher education partner can be a benefit. But how can a for-profit company also be a benefit? For-profit partners have much experience in the marketplace. They can provide insight about business acumen and market trends that can only come from outside of the education arena. They can also provide valuable expertise in grant applications, board presentations, and justification or validation for your decisions related to the investments made with district resources.
For example, if your goal is to renovate a building to make it more energy efficient, think about the information that a HVAC company can provide about how to capitalize on this efficiency. Including this information in your grant application or board presentation makes a more comprehensive case about your need, and the partnership will serve you well when it is time to make the changes to your building.
Also, many competitive grants require matching funds or in-kind contributions. Your for-profit partners can be key contributors to in-kind services or products that can maximize the resources you receive. In addition, there has been more emphasis on encouraging creative public-private partnerships, which can provide a combination of financing, ownership and use arrangements to facilitate construction. Lastly, it can only be a win-win proposition to have partners to call on as you search for funding to meet the needs of your most precious resources—your students.