By Chris Bavender
The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation has been ranked No. 4 in the Caruthers Institute’s Stepping Up annual study of K-12 education foundations for its impact on the community.
“It’s one measurement of our collective impact and speaks to best practices. It offers endorsement to donors and partners that the foundation is an excellent steward of their investment,” HSSF Executive Director Freedom Kolb said. “And perhaps, most importantly, (it shows) that their investment makes a meaningful difference in our schools.”
The foundation was created in 2001 to “drive innovation in local education – almost like the venture capitalist of education.”
“Our mission is to bring or create the next-best ideas in education home to all 21 HSE schools. This entrepreneurial and growth mindset often typically isn’t supported by very lean district budgets,” Kolb said. “We primarily serve faculty, staff and students, though since the entire community benefits from strong schools, we ultimately benefit the greater Fishers area. If it will enhance the education experience for our teachers or students anywhere from early childhood through graduation, we will work hard to help.”
The rankings are based on eight performance categories: annual revenue, revenues per student, total assets, assets per student, investment income, total program expenses, expenses per student and human capital.
This marks first time the foundation has been ranked. In the past, the study only included the top 200 school districts by size in the nation. Indiana had only two statewide foundations eligible under the original criteria.
“Our work is only possible because of the people and businesses who generously donate their time, their skills and their financial support. HSE schools and the greater Fishers community have a long track record of making education a priority and standing by our schools,” Kolb said. “Passing recent referenda, active parent teacher organizations (and) well-attended school board meetings are all evidence of a community that cares and places a high value on education. We believe teachers and education are our best tools for building a better future.”